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Tracy Metz and guests discuss the public perception of the Vietnam War and the antiwar protests. The Instant Composers Pool, a collective of improvisation musicians celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, performs subversive music. The programme is a cooperation of EYE and John Adams Institute.

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The programme includes a compilation of clips from Vietnam war films. The guests this evening will talk about the representation of the Vietnam war:

LBJ Santiago Alvarez Cuba 1968Film director Santiago Alvarez was a devoted son of Castro”s revolution. Rather than as a documentary maker, he spoke of himself as a “news pamphleteer”, whose aim it was to react to events as fast as possible. LBJ is a bitter satire about president Johnson, one of Alvarez” favourite targets. The film consists of three sections, corresponding with Johnson”s initials. L stands for Martin Luther King, B for Bobby Kennedy and J for Jack Kennedy. Alvarez implicates Johnson in all three assassinations, depicting his presidency as a low point in the history of socio-political corruption. Clips from Hollywood films and a cartoon of Johnson as an all-American cowboy serve to underscore his view.

Followed by a clip from an interview with Bobby Seale, one of the Chicago 8 who was arrested at the time of the Democratic Convention for his involvement in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.

Black Panthers Agnès Varda France 1968The French New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda went to live in the US with her husband Jacques Demy in 1968. Disillusioned with the political stalemate after May 1968, the two were attracted to American counterculture along with many other French artists and intellectuals. The Black Panther Party had created a new fusion of cultural and political revolt. Varda obviously relishes the dancing kids and the women combing their afros. It seems a happy party, but Varda”s voiceover reminds us: “This is no picnic in Oakland. It is a political rally organized by the Black Panthers – black activists getting ready for the revolution."

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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.

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campaign image 1968: You Say You Want a Revolution (© Bruno Barbey)
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