Winning is Complicated. The history of revolutionary struggle is wrought with failure, and let’s face it, even when we do win, this often looks remarkably different than what was envisioned. Winning can engender a whole new set of complications. What lessons can be drawn from past struggles? What can we learn from the losses, as well as the successes of the past?
The ‘Winning is Complicated’ film series screens documentaries and films that highlight past social movements, revolutions, uprisings and insurrections, and radical community projects. A facilitated discussion follows each screening.
The screenings take place the second Friday of every month at 7pm.
January 8th: Working Slowly (Radio Alice)
This documentary-style film takes place in Bologna, Italy. The Radio Alice program began on February 9, 1976. The radio station used an ex-military transmitter. They were mao-dadaists. The government wanted to have early elections. THere were many political problems. The main characters needed jobs, so they got an illegal job of digging a tunnel beneath buildings. They eventually got caught when one of the boys ran out of the tunnel and a cop saw him. They were almost done digging the tunnel. Anyone could come in and talk about whatever they wanted on Radio Alice. The creators did not want the channel to be affiliated with politics or to play mainstream music. They wanted to let creativity flow. The feminists took their own time slot on Radio Alice. During a protest, the police killed a fellow college student. The students set everything on fire. The protesters believed that they had to work too much. The carabinieri (Italian military police) shut down the station on March 12, 1977. This film was based on the 1977 protest.
February 12th: Make Hummus Not War
Could a regional love of hummus be the recipe for peace in the Middle East? This was the question on director Trevor Graham’s mind when he set out to film Make Hummus Not War, a documentary about the Middle Eastern conflict you don’t see on the nightly news.
One of the oldest-known prepared foods in human history, hummus is claimed by multiple Middle Eastern nationalities. So when Graham, a self-described hummus tragic, learned of a 2008 Lebanese plan to sue Israel for acting as if it had proprietary rights over the dish, he was intrigued and hungry for more. With Israel, Lebanon and Palestine fighting once again – over who ‘owns’ the hummus heritage – he set off on a personal journey into a colourful culinary history.
Make Hummus Not War is Graham’s humorous journey though the hummus bars and kitchens of, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and New York. Along the way he encounters the doyenne of Middle East cuisine Claudia Roden, zealots, Jewish settlers, biblical characters, political activists, chickpea farmers, novelists and Sheiks, for whom hummus is a near religious obsession.
March 11th: Born in Flames
Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of many progressive groups – minorities, liberals, gay rights organizations, feminists – are ostensibly dealt with by the government, and yet there are still problems with jobs, with gender issues, with governmental preference and violence. In New York City, in this future time, a group of women decide to organize and mobilize, to take the revolution farther than any man – and many women – ever imagined in their lifetimes.
April 8th: Attica
Social unrest in the United States hit a boiling point on September 9, 1971, when inmates at Attica State Prison — after months of protesting inhumane living conditions — revolted, seizing part of the prison and taking 39 hostages. The uprising resulted in the death of 43 people after troopers were called in to suppress the rioters. Three years later, Cinda Firestone released this monumental investigation of the rebellion and its aftermath, piecing together documentary footage of the occupation and ensuing assault with video from the McKay Commission hearings that criticized Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s handling of the incident and firsthand interviews with prisoners discharged after the event.
Unavailable for 33 years, Attica still is a sobering and revealing look into the heart of American justice, weighing the costs of institutional dishonesty and abuses of power against the price some will pay to retain human dignity.