the Disillusioned kid: Cinema Verite
| Email | Home | Linkage | Profile |

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cinema Verite

With the Broadway, Screen Room, Savoy, Showcase and UGC, Nottingham isn't short of cinemas. But if you're looking for underground activist documentaries, you'll have to try elsewhere, namely the Scroat, which takes place (more or less) weekly at the Sumac Centre. They show a wide range of videos, often with speakers who are actively involved in the issues covered. There's even food provided beforehand and a bar to provide fuel for post-film discussions.

Last night's offering was Jill's Film, about the life and death of Jill Phipps. Jill was an animal rights activist killed during protests against live animal exports twelve years ago today (February 1). Clearly the film was, on one level, about animal rights. The focus, however, wasn't so much on the philosophical, ethical and strategic questions that this raises, but on Jill's own life and how she had come to be involved in the animal liberation movement.

Put together and edited by one of her friends and with extensive comments from her mother (who was also involved in campaigning) the film made no pretense about offering an objective account, instead offering an insight into Jill from the perspective of those who knew and loved her. Sure, it probably wouldn't get past the gatekeepers on the TV, but that wasn't its intent.

Propaganda films can come across as didactic which is often off-putting, even where you broadly agree with the points being made. Jill's Film isn't without such moments and there are a few occasions where the resort to cliche ("Fur coats are worn by beautiful animals and ugly people") struck me as pointless and unconvincing sloganeering, but for the most part the film avoids this and is much the stronger for doing so. We follow Jill from her childhood, through the punk scene, into anti-fascism and onto the nascent 1980s animal rights movement. We learn about some of her early experiences, her break from activism after her son was born and her ill-fated return in the hope of stopping live animal exports from Coventry Airport.

While I've been a vegetarian for sometime and peripherally involved in animal rights activity, it's not something I've ever felt able to throw myself into for various reasons. In part this is because the situation seems so hopeless given the sheer scale of animal abuse and the largely disinterested response of most people. Most people don't seem to care about the huge numbers of humans being brutalised, starved and killed across the world; what chance is there that they're going to give a damn about other species? For me, one of the weaknesses of the film (at least from a propagandist perspective) was that it compounded this feeling of powerlessness. Sure the clips of pigs being kicked, sheep having the throats slit while they're still alive and chickens confined to tiny cages are horrific, but by emphasising the immense scale of the problem my response isn't anger (which can lead to action), but depression (which doesn't).

This needn't be the case. Live animal exports were and remain a weak point in the system. The nature of the beast is that it presents relatively easy targets (as lorries have to get onto boats or load their "cargo" into planes and typically have to follow predictable routes to do so) and generates huge opposition from across the political spectrum (as was clear from the video). To be fair, the guy responsible for the film (whose name escapes me) made this point after the film showing.

Long story short: if you get the chance (and you can download it for free so you all have) watch it. If nothing else, it'll go someway to dispelling some of the more ridiculous characterisations of animal rights activist which appear in the media.

Labels: ,

|

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Side Projects

Carnival of Anarchy
The Peace Pipe
UK Watch Blog

Acquaintances

Against the Current
Atopian.org
Culture hits and gendered bits
Daniel Randall
In The Water
Mike Wood
On The Barricades
Pizarro's Sword
Space Cat Rocket Ship
Surveillant Assemblage
TashCamUK FotoPage
The Naked Lunch
The Peace Pipe
The World of the Dynamite Lady

Strangers

Anarchoblogs
Antiwar.com Blog
Arte & Lingua
Barker in Valencia
Blairwatch
Bloggerheads
Blood & Treasure
Bombs and Shields
Boomablog
Born at the Crest of the Empire
Chase me ladies...
Chicken Yoghurt
Craig Murray
Dead Men Left
Direland
Disreputable Lazy Aliens
Empire Notes
Europhobia
Friends of Al Jazeera
Global Guerillas
Guerillas in the Midst
I Blame the Patriachy
Informed Comment
Insultadarity
Janine Booth
Lenin's Tomb
Life of Riley Blog
Media Watch Watch
Neil Shakespeare
NO2ID NewsBlog
One Hump or Two?
Otto's Random Thoughts
Perfect.co.uk
Pitch In For Uzbekistan
Registan.net
Run over by the truth
Solidarity With Iraqi Workers
Shut Up You Fat Whiner!
Sudan: Passion of the Present
Talk Politics
The Anthropik Network
The Daily (Maybe)
The Devil's Kitchen
The Disillusioned
The f-word
The Head Heeb
The Killing Train
The Revenge of Winston Smith
The Socialist Unity Blog
The Wicked Truth
Theory of Power
Things I Don't Have Time For
This (Fresh) Gringo
This Is My Truth
Thumping the Tub
Time The Dreaded Enemy
UK Watch Blog
UK Poli Blogs
underbrella
Under The Same Sun
Uzbekistan.neweurasia.net
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Where is Raed? (RIP)
Who Are You to Accuse Me?
Words and Rocks
Zeropointnine
Z-Net Blog

Neighbours

Asbo Community Space
Defy-ID
Eastside Climate Action
Faslane 365
Freecycle
Indymedia
No Borders
Nottingham Student Peace Movement
Refugee Forum
Stop the War
Sumac Centre
The Demo Project

Ivory Towers

Anarchist Studies Network
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
Postanarchism Clearinghouse

Miscellania

Anarchist FAQ
Antiwar.com
Chagos Discussion List
Chagos Support Forums
Electronic Intifada
Future of Iraq Portal
Index of Political Blogs
Indymedia UK
Infoshop
Iraq Occupation Focus
Pledgebank
Refuser Solidarity Network
SchNEWS
Socialist Unity Network
The New Standard
UK Chagos Support Association
UK Watch
Weekly Worker
Wikipedia
WriteToThem.com
Z-Net

The Progressive Blog Alliance

Register here to join the PBA.