Cineclub Vrijheidsfilms+ La hora de los hornos
Thanks to the Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis and the master Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image at the UvA.
The activist 16mm films were screened through the Vrije Circuit (Free Circuit), a consortium of art film clubs and political organisations, in community centres and in schools. Often the prints lacked subtitles, and the translations that were provided were read out live.
Joris van Laarhoven, who has researched Cineclub Vrijheidsfilms, will provide an introduction. In between the screenings there are performances by improvising musicians of DOEK. They will improvise on The Internationale and Bandiera Rossa, two anthems that are part of the soundtrack of 1968.
The programme begins with the classic La reprise du travail aux usines Wonder (The Return to Work at the Wonder Factory, no subtitles, live translation), about the end of the strike in the Wonder factory in France. Workers are filing back into the factory as an irate young woman exits the building in the opposite direction. Beside herself with rage, she insists she will not go back to that awful place with its shameful working conditions. Her outburst reflects badly on her more compliant co-workers: the revolution has been betrayed for a bit of extra cash.
The next film is79 Springsby Santiago Álvarez, a giant among activist filmmakers. He created a visual ode to Ho Chi Minh, who was concerned about the possible disintegration of the socialist block prior to his death in 1969.
Another major classic in the genre is La hora de los hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces) by Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas, a film that aimed to contribute to the political process of liberation (the film would be stopped during screening to create space for discussion). Made in 1968, it was the first fruit of the activist Third Cinema movement. A voice from the distant days of Utopian radicalism.
Fifty years ago, students, factory workers and filmmakers challenged the Establishment, from Paris to Mexico City, carrying not only bricks but also agile and light 16mm cameras.