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.
Sunday, September 30 | 6:00 PM
Norma Rae is a 1979 American drama film, directed by Martin Ritt in a screenplay written by Harrriet Frank, Jr. and Irving Ravetch. Based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton, which was told in the 1975 book Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance by New York Times reporter Henry P. Leifermann. The film stars Sally Field in the titular role. Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley and Gail Strickland appear in supporting roles. Norma Rae, a young Southern woman working at a cotton mill, encounters a union organizer and decides to join the effort to reform working conditions. This Oscar-winning drama follows Norma's crusade, as she leads a shutdown despite the opposition of her family and employers.
Sunday, September 16 | 6:00 PM
In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - The Take - has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. In the wake of Argentina's dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They're part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system. But Freddy, the president of the new worker's co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory……. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system………….
Sunday, August 26 | 6:00 PM
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth explores the social, economic and legislative issues that led to the decline of conventional public housing in America, and the city centers in which they resided, while tracing the personal and poignant narratives of several of the project's residents. In the post-War years, the American city changed in ways that made it unrecognizable from a generation earlier, privileging some and leaving others in its wake. The next time the city changes, remember Pruitt-Igoe.
Saturday, July 29 | 6:00 PM
Finally Got the News
FINALLY GOT THE NEWS is a forceful, unique documentary that reveals the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with the members of the movement, footage shot in the auto plants, and footage of leafleting and picketing actions, the film documents their efforts to build an independent black labor organization that, unlike the UAW, will respond to worker's problems, such as the assembly line speed-up and inadequate wages faced by both black and white workers in the industry.
Beginning with a historical montage, from the early days of slavery through the subsequent growth and organization of the working class, FINALLY GOT THE NEWS focuses on the crucial role played by the black worker in the American economy. Also explored is the educational 'tracking' system for both white and black youth, the role of African American women in the labor force, and relations between white and black workers.
Battle for Sevastopol
Saturday, June 30 | 6:00 PM
The breakout of the war shatters the world of a young student, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, forcing her to enlist in the army in 1941. The maiden turns out to be a natural-born sniper; her impressive skill and prowess make her stand out among men and women alike. Seeing Pavlichenko as a tangible threat, the German High Command gives orders to eliminate the girl whatever the cost. In the meanwhile, Lyudmila meets a man and falls in love. War fades into the background... Soon, however, another misfortune befalls Lyudmila leaving the man she loves on the brink of death and herself seriously wounded. The girl is pulled out of combat and later goes to the United States with a publicity visit. Eleanor Roosevelt welcomes Lyudmila in the White House and the two women soon become close. It won't be long before Pavlichenko stands before an audience in Chicago pressing for a second front. Will her words have the capacity to change the course of war?
Sunday, May 27 | 6:00 PM
Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernays Selma tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. Free hot dogs, popcorn, and cokes!
Cuba: An African Odyssey
Sunday, April 29 | 6:00 PM - Part 1
Sunday, May 6 | 6:00 PM - Part 2
From Che Guevara's military campaign to avenge Lumumba in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries. CUBA, AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY is the previously untold story of Cuba's support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War's most vigorous contests over resources and ideology. It tells the real story behind the so-called “cold” war and its clashes by proxy. An epic tale that explains the current state of the world, about the Internationalists who won all the battles but ended up losing the war.
The Coming War on China
Sunday, April 1 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
The Coming War on China is John Pilger's 60th documentary. Pilger reveals what the news doesn't - that the world's greatest military power, the United States, and the world's second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war. Pilger's film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.
Sunday, February 11 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Race is based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. Race is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man's fight to become an Olympic legend.
EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED
Sunday, February 18 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Dark Girls is a fascinating and controversial documentary film that goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. It explores the roots of classism, racism and the lack of self-esteem within a segment of cultures that span from America to the most remote corners of the globe. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are.
Sunday, February 25 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Director Ava DuVernay’s takes an unflinching, well-informed and thoroughly researched look at the American system of incarceration, specifically how the prison industrial complex affects people of color. Her analysis could not be more timely nor more infuriating. The film builds its case piece by shattering piece, inspiring levels of shock and outrage that stun the viewer, leaving one shaken and disturbed before closing out on a visual note of hope designed to keep us on the hook as advocates for change.
Bread and Roses
Sunday, January 28 | 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.