As the new protest documentary emerged this month, We Are Many, which documents a 2003 global protest day against the war in Iraq, occurred on February the 15th, I started reminiscing about film and its not so hidden (and obvious) protest/politics/anti-war role.
We Are Many was welcomed by most film critics and rated as one of the finest examples of its kind. Film’s director, British and Iranian Amir Amirani, a two time Amnesty International Award nominee is used to and prefers tackling some important issues. He has shown that with films that addressed the Concorde, awards ceremonies, Jimi Hendrix’s house in London, music and Apartheid, the sex change in Iran, chemical warfare in the Iran-Iraq war, among others.
By seeing some footage from We Are Many (still haven’t seen the whole thing) my brain kept digging through the “movie mind palace”, mapping a list of 10 first-rate examples of the feature film-protest connection. No, as stated a few months ago, I am definitely not a fan of list-making, but somehow this one just had to be made.
After compiling the “data” and making the list, I made a flash survey among my movie gurus. I gave them 2 minutes to think about one film that they associate with a protest. The answers (in many cases came in less than 2 minutes) included “Che: Part One” Steven Soderbergh’s biopic from 2008, Elia Kazan’s “On The Waterfront” from 1954 (a very popular answer), Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian drama “Children of Men” from 2006, Matthew Warchus’ “Pride” from last year, and even Karel Reisz’s “Morgan!” from 1966.
And yes, naturally, while going through it I’m absolutely sure you’ll have lots to add or remove. That’s the beauty of making a list – you’re always right yet you’re always wrong. Enjoy!
1. Hair, Milos Forman, 1979
2. Persepolis, Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 2007
3. The Dreamers, Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003
4. Battleship Potemkin, Sergei Eisenstein, 1925
5. Fahrenheit 451, François Truffaut, 1966
6. Zabriskie Point, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970
7. The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966
8. Umberto D., Vittorio De Sica, 1952
9. Werckmeister harmóniák, Béla Tarr, 2000
10. Akira, Katsuhiro Ôtomo, 1988