DISSENT!

DISSENT! Ann Guedes & Steve Sprung

Screenings followed by a talk with Ann Guedes (Cinema Action) and Steve Sprung (Cinema Action, Poster Collective)

So That You Can Live (For Shirley), Cinema Action, GB, 1981, 16mm, video, 83' screening at 15h30

So That You Can Live developed from a project called The Social Contract, which the Cinema Action collective began in the mid-1970s. When filming in Treforest, South Wales, the filmmakers met Shirley Butts, a union convenor who was leading a strike by women demanding equal pay. In the subsequent five years, they documented the impact that global economic changes had on her and her family. As Marc Karlin remarked, So That You Can Live is “a film of and in transit – from city to countryside, from employment to the dole, from generation to generation, from power to powerlessness”. “The most important British independent film since Berwick Street Film Collective’s Nightcleaners, Cinema Action’s So That You Can Live (For Shirley) is in many ways a very simple film, about a family in a South Wales valley community which has been struck down in the last five years - the period over which the film was made - by the socially destructive consequences of pit and factory closures and the resulting unemployment... Slow and beautifully controlled, a poetry unfolds in this film of enormous depth of feeling and lucid intelligence, and in this way it becomes a passionate plea for the voice of conscience to be heard again in the labour movement. For the word and the idea to become once again part of our vocabulary, as it was for previous generations. For us all to look around and see, in the shapes and forms of our environment, what parents and grandparents tell to those who ask of what is only recently past, the history of Living memory.” (Michael Chanan)

The Year of the Beaver, Poster-Film Collective, GB, 1985, 16mm, video, 78' screening at 17h

The Year of the Beaver documents the strike at the Grunwick film processing factory in North London in 1976-‘78, which was then described as “a central battleground between the classes and between the parties”. The film, which incorporates a lot of the material from the reporting that was being produced at the time, is not only a documentary of a strike, but a portrait of an historical period, as it underwent transition to the modern ‘civilized’ state under Thatcherism. “It wasn’t until the early eighties that a film called The Year of the Beaver emerged and I first really met Marc Karlin as he hugged me on seeing it. A film which had, for all the efforts of the inexperienced people who had worked on it, managed to create layers of meaning and make connections between the myriad of things it had had to take on board. It showed what had come to be viewed as the seeds of Thatcherism developing long before her reign. This mammoth work had been years in the making, years in editing rooms struggling for ways and means to illuminate a story that needed to be told, to find an adequate form in which to tell its tale.” (Steve Sprung)