Red Hollywood, Thom Andersen & Noël Burch, 1996/2014, USA, 114 minutes
Film screening and discussion
Saturday 28 March 2016, 1.00 – 4.00 pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1 [Map]
For this special event Thom Andersen will present a re-mastered and re-edited version of Red Hollywood (1996), a revelatory essay film made in collaboration with Noël Burch, which examines the films made by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and offers a radically different perspective on a key period in the history of American cinema. As described by Andersen and Burch, “the victims of the Hollywood blacklist have been canonised as martyrs, but their film work in Hollywood is still largely denigrated or ignored. Red Hollywood considers this work to demonstrate how the Communists of Hollywood were sometimes able to express their ideas in the films they wrote and directed.”
An elaboration on Andersen’s 1985 written essay, also called “Red Hollywood”, the documentary Red Hollywood draws on extensive research, includes intimate interviews with former blacklisted artists such as Paul Jarrico, Ring Lardner, Jr., Alfred Levitt and Abraham Polonsky, and features clips from more than 50 films that span numerous genres and raise questions about war, race relations, class solidarity, women’s labour and the studio system itself.
“Our film demonstrates how the American Communists through their films from 1932-1952, were able to expose something that no one has spoken of since in the United States: the class struggle, the conspicuous divide between the rich and poor, the pernicious damage caused by capitalism or, for example, the idea that crime stems from deplorable social conditions and not individual insanity.” (Noël Burch)