CME FILM SERIES
The CME Film Series is free and open to the public with screenings at the Center, unless otherwise noted. All films are shown in the original language, and with English subtitles, when necessary.
Bread and Roses
December 31 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers' union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she's also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide.
The Mine Wars
Sunday, November 19 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
At the dawn of the 20th century, coal was the fuel that powered the nation. Yet few Americans thought much about the men who blasted the black rock from underground and hauled it to the surface. The Mine Wars tells the overlooked story of the miners in the mountains of southern West Virginia — native mountaineers, African American migrants, and European immigrants — who came together in a protracted struggle for their rights. Decades of violence, strikes, assassinations and marches accompanied their attempts to form a union, culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, the largest armed insurrection since the Civil War. The West Virginia mine wars raised profound questions about what freedom and democracy meant to working people in an industrial society.
Last Days in Vietnam
Sunday, October 29 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only—or to risk punishment and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can. The events recounted in the film mainly center on the US evacuation of Saigon codenamed Operation Frequent Wind.
Enjoy a discussion following the film facilitated by antiwar protesters Marilyn Levin and Duncan McFarland, and Alfred Johnson, who spent over a year in an Army stockade for refusing orders to Vietnam.
The Great Debaters
Sunday, September 24 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with the influential father (Forest Whitaker) of one of his best debators, eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard's prestigious debate champions.
Sunday, August 27 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Nominated for 2015 Academy Award for Foreign Language Film. It's the beginning of the summer. In a village in the north of Turkey, Lale and her four sisters come home from school, innocently playing with boys. The supposed debauchery of their games causes a scandal with unintended consequences. The family home slowly turns into a prison, classes on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged. The five sisters, driven by the same desire for freedom, fight back against the limits imposed on them. Turkish with English subtitles, 94 minutes.
The Fidel Castro Tapes
Sunday, July 30 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
The Fidel Castro Tapes features rarely — and never-before-seen — images to tell the life story of the leader of Cuba. It chronicles how his drive and charisma catapulted him to power in Cuba and how he used these traits to maintain control of his country for nearly five decades and capture the attention of the world.
Instead of telling his story through interviews, the program relies solely on media reports, rare images and recordings to document Castro’s turbulent life. In addition, the program features footage obtained from several Cuban archives. By using an “in the moment” style of storytelling, The Fidel Castro Tapes gives viewers a sense of being present during the most significant moments of Castro’s career — and gives remarkable insight into his personality. English, 60 minutes.
Sunday, June 25 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) takes center stage. Though he had humble beginnings as a herd boy in a rural village, Mandela became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and co-founded the African National Congress Youth League. His activities eventually led to his imprisonment on Robben Island from 1964 to 1990. In 1994, Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa.
Salt of the Earth
Saturday, June 3 | 3:00 PM
Joe Bernick, Director of the Salt of the Earth Labor College
Salt of the Earth is a classic labor film, depicting the bitter 1950 strike by mostly-Chicano and Mexicano miners in New Mexico that challenged racist discrimination in the industry and male supremacy in the home. When an injunction was issued against the striking miners, their wives and sisters took up the struggle with a fury, leaving the men to care for home and children. It was banned and barely shown in commercial theaters in the US. But tens if not hundreds of millions viewed it in the Soviet Union, China and other civilized states. Salt of the Earth is often shown to students in Mexican American and Women's Studies courses. The Library of Congress now includes it on their list of the 100 greatest US films.
The film will be introduced by Joe Bernick, the long-time director of the Salt of the Earth Labor College. Born in Minnesota, Joe spent most of his childhood in the recently-occupied Palestine, returning to Minnesota in the early 1960s to finish high school. He became active in the civil rights, peace and Palestine justice movement, and worked in Minneapolis factories, where he was active in the Iron Workers and Teamsters unions. He and his wife, Cat Stelman, moved to Tucson in 1980. He worked for a decade as a school custodian, was Vice President of his AFT local, and remains active in Jobs with Justice. He was mentored by the great Communist leaders, Lorenzo and Anita Torrez, veterans of the strike depicted in the film, and helped found the Salt of the Earth Labor College in Tucson in 1993.
Sunday, May 28 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
"Lumumba" is a gripping political thriller which tells the story of the legendary African leader Patrice Emery Lumumba. Called "the politico of the bush" by journalists of his day, the brilliant and charismatic Lumumba rose rapidly to the office of Prime Minister when Belgium conceded the Congo's independence in June, 1960. He would last two months in office. This is a true story.
Sunday, April 23 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by MBissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.
Sunday, March 26 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Althea Gibson’s life and achievements transcend sports. A truant from the rough streets of Harlem, Althea emerged as a most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s. Her roots as a sharecropper’s daughter, her family’s migration north to Harlem in the 1930s, mentoring from Sugar Ray Robinson, David Dinkins and others, and fame that thrust her unwillingly into the glare of the early Civil Rights movement, all bring her story into a much broader realm of the American story.
Magdalene Sisters (90% Rotten Tomatoes)
Sunday, February 26 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
The triumphant story of three extraordinary women whose courage to defy a century of injustice would inspire a nation. While women's liberation sweeps the globe, in 1960s Ireland four "fallen" women are stripped of their liberty and dignity and condemned to indefinite servitude in the Magdalene Laundries, where they'll work to atone for their "sins.“
China: A Century of Revolution
Part Three: Born Under the Red Flag 1976–1997
Sunday, January 22 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
China: A Century of Revolution is a six-hour tour de force journey through the country's most tumultuous period. First televised on PBS, this award-winning documentary series presents an astonishingly candid view of a once-secret nation with rare archival footage, insightful historical commentary and stunning eyewitness accounts from citizens who struggled through China's most decisive century. In Part 3, Born Under the Red Flag, Mao’s death begins, which follows the country’s new leadership of Deng Xiaoping and its unlikely transformation into an extraordinary hybrid of communist-centralized politics with an ever-expanding free market economy.
China: A Century of Revolution
Part Two: The Mao Years 1949-1976 (1994)
Sunday, December 18 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
China: A Century of Revolution is a six-hour tour de force journey through the country's most tumultuous period. First televised on PBS, this award-winning documentary series presents an astonishingly candid view of a once-secret nation with rare archival footage, insightful historical commentary and stunning eyewitness accounts from citizens who struggled through China's most decisive century. Part 2: The Mao Years examines the turbulent era of Mao’s attempts to forge a “new China” from the war-ravaged and poverty-stricken nation.
China: A Century of Revolution
Part One: China in Revolution 1911-1949 (1989)
Sunday, November 20 | 6 – 8 PM
China: A Century of Revolution is a six-hour tour de force journey through the country's most tumultuous period. First televised on PBS, this award-winning documentary series presents an astonishingly candid view of a once-secret nation with rare archival footage, insightful historical commentary and stunning eyewitness accounts from citizens who struggled through China's most decisive century. Part 1: China in Revolution charts the pivotal years from the birth of the new republic to the establishment of the PRC, through foreign invasions, civil war and a bloody battle for power between Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek.
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
Sunday, October 30 | 6 - 8 PM
The Black Power Mixtape is an award winning compilation feature documentary that displays the story of the African-American community 1967-1975, the people, the society and the style that fueled a change. Told with sparkling, beautiful and deep footage, lost in the archives in Sweden for 30 years.
Sunday, October 9 | 6 - 8 PM
A range of techniques and perspectives are used in the Morning Sun website to reflect on the origins and history of the Cultural Revolution (c.1964-1976). We approach the period not from a simplistic linear perspective, but from a panoptic one, encompassing a broad overview while allowing the user to focus in on individual histories, narratives and events that reveal the complex contradictory forces that led to an era of unrivalled revolutionary fervor and political turmoil.
Sunday, September 25 | 6 - 8 PM
Gracefully assembled and ultimately disquieting,
Timbuktu is a timely film with a powerful message about a cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed.
Join Susan McLucas, an activist against female genital mutilation who has spent time in Africa, in a disucssion of the film.
Ballad of a Soldier
Sunday, August 7 | 6 - 8 PM
Russian soldier Alyosha Skvortsov is granted a visit with his mother after he singlehandedly fends off two enemy tanks. As he journeys home, Alyosha encounters the devastation of his war-torn country, witnesses glimmers of hope among the people, and falls in love. With its poetic visual imagery, Grigori Chukhrai's Ballad of a Soldier is an unconventional meditation on the effects of war, and a milestone in Russian cinema.
Starring Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko.
Black and white, in Russian with English subtitles, 88 minutes.
Center for Marxist Education
550 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor Cambridge, MA, 02139
Metered parking is available in the area as well as several pay lots (free on Sundays).
MBTA station on the Red Line and the Number 1 bus.
Mao Zedong, 1969
Sunday, July 10 | 6 - 9 PM
A documentary film from the CIA library shows seldom seen footage giving accurate historical background to the Chinese Revolution. Focusing on the period from the Opium War to the victory of the revolution in 1949, the documentary conveys much accurate information from the May 4, 1919 movement, the alliance with KMT in 1920s, and the anti-Japanese war and civil war periods. Importance of the united front to oppose the Japanese invasion, land reform policy of land to the tillers, and rectification campaigns are all covered. The film opens and closes with footage of the cultural revolution and exalting the leading role of Mao. Chinese politics today cannot be understand without an appreciation of Chinese history, especially the twists and turns of the revolution.
US National Film Archives, 59 minutes
Welcome to Leith
Sunday, June 12 | 6 - 8 PM
Welcome to Leith chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. With incredible access to both longtime residents of Leith and white supremacists, the film examines a small community in the plains struggling for sovereignty against an extremist vision. It can’t happen here, some might say, but it did and Americans should indeed be cautious.
In English, 86 minutes.