12 December 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London.

The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!
Jim Brown, US 1982
78 mins

Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, and the events leading to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall: ‘The Weavers’ were Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman. They sang traditional folk
songs, blues, labour songs and ballads, selling millions of records at the height of their popularity and inspiring the commercial ‘folk boom’ of the 1950s and 1960s. During the McCarthy ‘red scare’ Pete Seeger and Lee Hays were denounced as Communists and the Weavers were banned from performing on television or radio, Decca Records terminating their recording contract in 1953 and deleting their songs from its catalogue. We are grateful to Jim Brown Productions for permission to screen this print.

Whose Conspiracy?
Chris Reeves, UK 2010

[Advised E]

After the 1972 building workers’ national strike twenty-four trade unionists were tried at Shrewsbury in a hostile act to criminalise picketing. Some were given severe prison sentences. Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson soon became known as the ‘Shrewsbury 2’. Des died following treatment meted out to him during his incarceration. Successive Governments, both Conservative and Labour, have remained unresponsive to the calls for these perverse judgments to be set aside, and for these men to be cleared. We première the film in support of a renewed campaign to right this miscarriage of justice.

Work in Progress on a Work in Progress
Margaret Dickinson, UK 2010

10 mins
[Advised E]

London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics turned a large area of the city west of Stratford into one of Europe’s biggest building sites. This film asks what the massive development will mean for construction
workers. Will the Olympic Delivery Authority be able to keep its promises about jobs and training? As the title implies, this is provisional material from an ongoing project. The purpose is to provoke responses that will feed into continuing work on a longer documentary about construction workers and the influence of the Olympic development on prospects, conditions and training.

Discussion led by Chris Reeves, Margaret Dickinson and Tony O’Brien, National Secretary, Construction Safety Campaign.

14 November 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London.

Salt of the Sea (Milh Hadha Al-Bahr)
Annemarie Jacir, Palestine/France 2008
104 mins

This first feature film by a Palestinian woman, won critical acclaim and numerous prizes. Michael Moore called it ‘absolutely one of the best films I’ve seen in years’. Soraya, a Palestinian refugee born in Brooklyn, fulfils her lifelong dream of ‘returning’ to Palestine after she discovers that her grandfather's savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa. She meets Emad, a young Palestinian who longs to leave forever. Driven by frustration, they break the law, become fugitives and together search for the ruins of old homes and villages, icons of the Palestinian struggle that evoke loss and tragedy.

The Silent War: Israel's Blockade of Gaza
Kashfi Halford, UK 2010
10 mins

The film examines what the blockade means for the 1.5 million people of Gaza, as they struggle to rebuild their lives over a year after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

Discussion led by Betty Hunter, General Secretary, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, HE Prof Manual Hassassian of the Palestinian General Delegation UK and Andrea Becker, Head of Advocacy, Medical Aid for Palestinians.

10 October 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London map

The Time of Their Lives
Jocelyn Cammack, UK 2009
57 mins

With a combined age of almost 300, Hetty, Rose and Alison love to share their concerns on everything from terrorism and global warming to sex, death and the meaning of life. Rose, at 101, is the oldest newspaper columnist in the world; Hetty, 102, is still marching against war; and Alison, 88, a one-time Communist Party member is now a self-styled 'establishment lady'. Surprising, passionate and at times very funny, they bring to the screen a rare perspective on old age. The film has screened in nurmerous festivals and was broadcast on BBC Storyville in July 2009.

The Bitter Taste of Tea
Erling Borgen and Tom Heinnemann, Denmark/Norway 2008
59 mins

The filmmakers travel to tea estates in Sri Lanka, Kenya, India and Bangladesh—some traditional, some fairtrade — to expose unsafe work environments and labour exploitation. They find little meaningful difference between fairtrade and non-fairtrade operations, which raises difficult questions. Are organisations like the EU’s Max Havelaar Foundation being duped by tea growers? Or are growers doing the best they can in a brutal industry and a market in which the demand for fairtrade tea is insufficient to create trickle-down profits for their workers? It is left to the viewer to weigh the arguments and decide.

The screening will be followed with a discussion led by Jocelyn Cammack, Hetty Bower and Bernard Miller; Tom Heinemann (to be confirmed) and Barbara Crowther, Fairtrade Foundation Director of Communications.

12 September 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London map

Outside The Law: Stories From Guantanamo
Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, UK 2009
75 mins

Based around interviews with former prisoners, lawyers and journalists, the film looks at Guantanamo mainly through the cases of three particular prisoners - Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (who was released in February 2009) and Omar Deghayes. In following their stories the filmmakers focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international law, how prisoners were rounded up in Afganistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may been in Afganistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with military or terrorism.

A Place In The City
Jenny Morgan, South Africa 2008
30 mins

In the vast shack settlement in and around Durban, members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the grassroots shack dwellers' movement lay out their case - against forceible eviction; for decent services - with passion, eloquence and sweet reason. The film captures the horrible conditions in whcih shack dwellers live - but also Abahlali's bravery resilience. At the heart of Abahlali's campaign is the struggle for meaningful citizenship rights for South Africa's poor majority. 'Or does freedom in South Africa,' asks Abahlali volunteer organiser Louisa Motha, 'only belong to the rich?'

The screening will be followed with a discussion led by Jenny Morgan, Polly Nash and Omar Deghayes.

14 February 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London map

Meeting Resistance
Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, USA 2007
84 mins

The veil of anonymity surrounding the Iraqi insurgency is raised by meeting face to face with individuals who are engaged in the struggle, documenting the sentiments experienced and actions taken by a nation's citizens when their homeland is occupied. Voices, male and female, speak candidly about their motivations, hopes and goals. Featuring fervent conversations with active insurgents, through its unprecedented access to these clandestine groups, the film focuses on the ‘other side’, clarifying why violence in Iraq continues. It provides a deeper understanding of both the toll of occupation and the human condition of resistance.

Waiting for Mordechai
Jenny Morgan, UK 2005
30 mins

Mordechai Vanunu spent 18 years in an Israeli prison for telling the world Israel secretly manufactures nuclear weapons. For all that time, peace campaigners tried to get him out. This film starts a few days before the scheduled release of Vanunu, as supporters from around the world arrive to welcome him…

The screening will be followed with a discussion led by Jeremy Corbyn MP and director Jenny Morgan.

10 January 2010

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London map

Matzpen - Anti Zionist Israelis
Eran Torbiner, Israel 2003
English Subtitles, 54 mins

Most members of the socialist organisation Matzpen were Israeliborn, coming from the core of Israeli society. Their fight against Zionism and against the occupation, as well as their contacts with Palestinian and European left-wing activists, were the cause of threats and slander, as well as political and social isolation. The film touches on the main issues of the Zionist-Palestinian struggle, through the eyes of the organisation's prominent figures, their ideas, opinions and activities.

Jerusalem...The East Side Story
Mohammed Alatar, Palestine 2008
English Subitles, 57 mins

This documentary covers nearly 100 years of history. It exposes the past 40 years of Israeli military occupation policies in Jerusalem and their devastating impact on the
city and its peoples. It features interviews with prominent Israeli and Palestinian leaders, peace activists and political analysts, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Meron Benvinisti, Dr. Nazmi Ju'beh, Dr. Mahdi AbdulHadi, Professor Menahim Klein.

The screening will be followed with a discussion led by Betty Hunter, General Secretary, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Moshe Machover, emeritus professor at King’s College, London, and a founder in 1962 of Matzpen, the Israeli socialist organisation.

13 December 2009

11am screening at the Renoir Cinema, London map

Memories of Underdevelopment
Tomas Gutierrez Alea, Cuba 1986
English Subtitles, 104mins

Based on the novel of the same name by Edmundo Desnoes, the film is based on the diary of a middle class intellectual caught in the midst of the rapidly changing social reality of revolutionary Cuba. Sergio is a landlord and self-styed writer who decides to remain behind when his wife, family and friends, leave for Miami. But Sergio is unable to commit himself to the revolution either, and so remains a sceptical observer. His perceptions of Cuban society, both before and after the revolution, are interwoven with documentary footage of historical events, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Shattered Space
Enrique Colina, ICAIC and Stephen Hart, UCL, Cuba 2009
English Subtitles, 16mins

These documentaries, made at the 2009 International Film and TV School in Havana, portray aspects of contemporary Havana, including the everyday life of the man who carried Fidel Castro’s rucksack in the Sierra Maestra 50 years ago, the art produced by the Taller de Gráfica, the ambition of a young girl to make it in Cuba’s competitive music industry, and the determination of young boxers at a local boxing club to make their dreams come true.

The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Stephen Hart, Professor of Hispanic Studies, University College London.