May 9

COLONIAL LEGACIES – THE VIEW FROM THERE. A COLLABORATION WITH THE HUMAN RIGHTS ARTS & FILM FESTIVAL

“Artists and creatives have always been at the vanguard of social change – we rely on them to hold a mirror to the uneasy truths of our times and reflect our stories”, the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival’s mission statement reads. The same reasoning and commitment could be said to underlie the Melbourne Cinémathèque’s undertaking to screen significant and provocative works from the complete history of world cinema; from the earliest silent films to recent digital experimentations, cinema is a bellwether of our connection to and direction in the world.

In a continuation of an important partnership formed in 2014, this screening profiles cinema as a truly global art form and as an important agent for social change. It features two seminal films that explore the urgent and damning legacy of European colonialism in Africa and its impact on the relationships between Indigenous cultures and their European “masters”. The screening begins with The Battle of Algiers, one of the most famous, celebrated, controversial and influential representations of national liberation, and the guerrilla tactics undertaken to achieve it, during the struggle for independence in French-controlled Algeria in the 1950s and early 1960s. Drawing together a barrage of techniques that range from agit-prop to cinéma vérité, this intense, violent and truly sweeping “document” is one of the key works of “world cinema”. Pontecorvo’s incendiary drama is followed by Mauritanian director Med Hondo’s recently rediscovered debut feature, Soleil O, a truly independent, fierce but reflective account of the legacies of imperialism and the exploitation of “colonised” labour in 1960s Paris. Hondo’s film, like Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl (1966), provides a vital counterweight to European perspectives on this legacy.

Presented in Collaboration with the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

MAY 9

7:00pm – THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
Gillo Pontecorvo (1966) 121 mins M

Shot with an extraordinary documentary-like immediacy, Pontecorvo’s seismic tract retains all of its shocking power and political relevance more than 50 years after its initial release. In its depiction of the popular Algerian uprising against French colonising forces, it fuses neo- realism with galvanising revolutionary agit-prop via stunning handheld camerawork, meticulous staging of chaos, utterly convincing deployment of non-actors and Ennio Morricone’s dizzyingly propulsive score. Few films have had such a pervasive and catalysing influence on dissident world cinema, or indeed on freedom fighting movements themselves.

CTEQ Annotation:
‘The Battle of Algiers’ by Darragh O’Donoghue.


9:15pm – SOLEIL O
Med Hondo (1970) 98 mins – Unclassified 15 +*

One of the foundational figures of African cinema, Hondo’s recently rediscovered debut feature is a fierce indictment of French imperialism and a lyrical and deeply expressionistic account of the exploitation of African migrant labour in postcolonial Paris. Whilst not explicitly autobiographical, the film draws deeply upon Hondo’s personal experiences as a Mauritanian migrant living and working, both as a labourer and self-supporting artist, in 1960s Paris. Shot in a piecemeal fashion over four years, and fully self-funded, this seminal film is “suffused with a political indignation that, despite the film’s historical specificity, still feels urgent today” (Dan Sullivan).

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Med Hondo at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.

February 5
OPENING NIGHT

February 12 – February 26
VITTORIO DE SICA: CINEMA, ITALIAN STYLE

March 4 – March 18
LIGHT AND SHADOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF MARLENE DIETRICH

March 23 – April 6
CAST A DARK SHADOW: THE BEAUTIFUL SADNESS OF DIRK BOGARDE

April 13 – April 29
THE BIG CARNIVAL: THE FILMS OF BILLY WILDER

May 6 – May 20
“LIFE’S PARADE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS”: DOUGLAS SIRK

May 27 – June 10
WILDFLOWERS: DANCING, DESIRE AND FREEDOM IN THE FILMS OF GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

June 17 – July 1
DRIFTING STATES: THE FILMS OF APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

July 8
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: CECIL HOLMES, ACTIVIST FILMMAKER

July 15 – July 29
HIROSHI SHIMIZU: FORGOTTEN MASTER

September 2 – September 16
JEAN COCTEAU: THE POETRY OF DREAMS

September 23 – September 30
QUEERING THE ARCHIVE: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA HAMMER

October 7 – October 14
GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

October 21 – November 4
REACHING BEYOND THE FRAME: THE POETIC CINEMA OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

November 11 – November 25
BORSCHT, SAUERKRAUT, GOULASH AND LEMONADE: AN INTRODUCTION TO OSTERNS AND RED WESTERNS

December 2 – December 16
THE LAND IS OURS: YOUSSEF CHAHINE