Courtisane festival, notes on cinema, 23nd edition, 27 - 31 March 2024
marxism today (prologue)
“Just as it was mandatory in British schools to attend Bible lessons, in Soviet Russia, Yugoslavia or East Germany, Marxism was a central part of the curriculum. I’d often wondered about this. What had happened to the Marxist teachers now?” Phil Collins’s project marxism today takes as its starting point the Marxism classes that were a compulsory feature of East German schools prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, investigating what became of the teachers of this subject after Marxist ideology became increasingly discredited. This film – the prologue of a larger project – focuses on three former teachers from the former German Democratic Republic. Combining interviews with these women with archive footage from the heyday of the socialist state, Collins’s film considers the ramifications of the social and political transformations of the past two decades from a human perspective. With a soundtrack by Nick Powell and Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab).
A search for the alternative to an image of meaning, inspired by Antonio Negri’s and Michael Hardt’s Empire. The insights from this politico-philosophical study on the contemporary world serve as a starting point for a reflection on positive forms of collective resistance and emancipatory representations in times of war. An adaptation that doesn’t aim to be an illustration of Empire but that reworks it in the light of the 9/11 heritage. After Empire considers a possible alternative for the iconic image that our collective memory has kept as the quintessential moment of recent history: the hijacked plane hitting the second tower. The alternative: the 15th of February 2003. On that day 30 million citizens across the planet marched against the unilateral decision by the American government to start a pre-emptive war against Iraq under the auspices of “the war on terrorism”. 2/15 was the greatest peace demonstration since the Vietnam war and probably the biggest protest march ever to take place. The war did happen, but this world day of resistance could very well mark the beginning of the 21st century. 2/15 instead of 9/11: a key date in the writing of a history of global contestation in the struggle between two superpowers: the United States against public opinion worldwide.