Marching Workers

Chavez was a firm believer in non-violence. In theory, the aesthetic of non-violence in the face of injustice is inspiring. In practice, the brutality of violence upon one’s body without resorting to reciprocating that violence is far from being aesthetically pleasing. But this is precisely the subtext the film operates in. The music and visual arts behind the movement gave strikers the spiritual strength and motivation that helped them bear the pain and humiliation inflicted by goons. Chavez and the arts inspired by the movement gave strikers a sense of pride and identity.

Labor movements and activism are a mix of the Apollonian and Dionysian, of the individual and the collective, of the rational mind and the frenzy of the emotions. The strategic rationality was provided by Chavez and several others in the Campesino Movement. The emotional spark was provided by the many artists that were part of the Movement. Songs, murals, and poems gave strikers the emotional voltage capable of overcoming what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. As an artist in A Song for Cesar declares: “You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.” In this country, we are currently witnessing nascent unionization movements from Amazon warehouses to Starbucks locations. We can only hope that the veil of fear that has long obscured the vision of American labor is replaced by the results produced by solidarity — courage and dignity.

Read more here: Film Threat Review of A Song for Cesar

Go see it this weekend! Opens NYC at The Quad Cinema and the Westwood Theatre in Los Angeles. 


The Pact

Danish author Karen Blixen may be best known for her 1937 memoir “Out of Africa”— widely published under the pen name Isak Dinesen — and from its 1985 Oscar-winning screen adaptation, in which the erstwhile coffee farmer was portrayed by Meryl Streep.

But as the superbly acted drama “The Pact” recounts, Blixen (a formidable Birthe Neumann), in a later life wracked by pain, illness, loneliness and loss, had become a sort of exalted manipulator of souls coasting on wealth, status and a near-legendary gravitas. There was a smoke-and-mirrors aspect to Blixen’s powers that was seemingly all in the service of concocting good stories, even if she wasn’t necessarily writing them herself. (Though long divorced from her baron husband, she continued to be known as “Baroness.”)

Read more here.


A still from Calendar Girls

The Sundance Film Festival doesn’t kick off until next week, but that’s not slowing the dealmaking.

Juno Films has acquired North American rights to the feature-length documentary “Calendar Girls,” a look at a dance team comprised of Florida women over 60. The film will have its world premiere at this year’s festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition Category. Before Sundance went virtual due to rising COVID cases, the dance team had planned to make the trek up the mountain to Park City to perform.

Juno Films plans to release the film in theaters in the early summer.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Juno Films to bring ‘Calendar Girls’ to North American audiences,” says filmmakers Maria Loohufvud and Love Martinsen. “We believe that it will appeal to audiences across the spectrum and will prompt viewers to reconsider what it means to be ‘old.'”

Read  more in Variety.


The Pact
Rolf Konow/Juno Films

DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE:

"Juno Films has claimed North America rights to The Pact, a film from Oscar and Palme d’Or-winning director Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror, House of Spirits), which is based on the true story of Out of Africa author Karen Blixen, planning to release it in U.S. and Canadian theaters in early 2022, followed by a digital release later in the year.

The Pact catches up with Blixen (Birthe Neumann) at age 63, finding her at the pinnacle of her fame and next in line to win the Nobel Prize for literature. It has been 17 years since she gave up her famous farm in Africa, only to return to Denmark with her life in ruins. Devastated by syphilis and having lost the love of her life, she has reinvented herself as a literary sensation. She is an isolated genius, however, until the day she meets talented 30-year-old poet Thorkild Bjørnvig (Simon Bennebjerg), promising him literary stardom if he in return will obey her unconditionally, even at the cost of him losing everything else in his life."

Read full press release on Deadline


Reviews
Review from NY Times
September 23, 2021

NY Times review

Andresen’s determination to rise above misfortune, and his hopes for himself, make this movie less than a total tragedy. But it’s an often shudder-inducing cautionary tale.”

Read full review


Reviews
Review from San Francisco Chronicle
September 22, 2021


'Tiny Tim: King for a Day'

"It captures the oddball beauty of the weirdest star in the counterculture galaxy."

Owen Glieberman, Variety

 


In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, THE GREAT GREEN WALL is coming to a theater near you, both virtual and physical. Click here to find a theater near you.


A new documentary, Tiny Tim: King for a Day, will examine the life story of the eccentric falsetto-voiced ukulele strummer who had an unexpected novelty hit in 1968 with his rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” The film will be released to theaters on April 23rd.

One of Tiny Tim’s biggest fans, “Weird Al” Yankovic, narrates the late Dr. Demento favorite’s diary entries and letters. Tim’s widow, Miss Sue, comedian and activist Wavy Gravy, TV producer George Schlatter, and others, also contributed interviews for the doc. The film also features archival footage of Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, and D.A. Pennebaker discussing Tiny Tim’s career.

Read more here.