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HomeRevolution and Cinema: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Carnation Revolution

Revolution and Cinema: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Carnation Revolution

Revolução e Cinema: 50 anos da Revolução dos Cravos

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Published on Thursday, February 23, 2023

Abstract

The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by the deepening of social inequalities, the anachronism of authoritarian regimes and the political exhaustion of democratic systems. It should invite us to analyze the traces, myths, outbursts, failures, and eventual successes of past revolutions so we can attain a better apprehension of the links between cinema, art, and politics. This special section aims to contribute to the constitution of a “cine-geography” (Gray and Eshun 2011, 1) of the forms of “making” cinema and revolution. The aim is to update historical and aesthetic analyses that address the encounter between cinema and revolution.

Announcement

Argument

1974, a sound: “O povo, unido, jamais será vencido” (the people, united, will never be defeated). This is one of the most prominent revolutionary chants of the Portuguese revolution, best-known as the ‘Carnation Revolution’ (1974-1975). 2011, an anecdote: during an interview in his flat, talking about films made during the Portuguese revolution, filmmaker Fernando Matos Silva was moved when he heard the background sound of Egyptian demonstrators in Tahrir Square playing on television. He thought he was hearing the same chant as in 1974, with a three-beat rhythm, only in a different language.

This poetic resonance is an illustration of what we wish to interrogate in this special section of Aniki designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Portuguese revolution of 1974-1975. The aim is to update historical and aesthetic analyses that address the encounter between cinema and revolution.

Revolutionary phenomena are bound to provoke a cinema that thinks through historical rupture and questions its nature (Robert-Gonçalves 2018). Rui Simões’ Good Portuguese People (1981), for example, attempts to create an historical work through film editing: consisting of several short poetic shots that sublimate the archival images and embellish the traces of reality with a melancholic power, the film brings together “a sensation of truth and a feeling of beauty” (De Baecque 2008, 61, our translation). Some of the films of the Portuguese revolution are also part of a revolutionary filiation, referring to past events, such as the Chilean revolution in the early 1970s, or the May 68 revolts in France. Returning to these images today is a way of asking ourselves, once again, what a revolution really is.

This is of interest to historians, filmmakers and researchers working on moving images. Revolutions have often been accompanied by and put into images. The visual archive, which the historian uses to (re)construct the paths of history, has also been “revived” in a variety of forms: so-called compilation or montage documentaries, films built from images recovered from social networks, or even fiction films that insert archival images into their narration. Over the past decades the nature of archival images has been discussed in historical studies. Still, there is a lot to be done in film studies in terms of the inventory, preservation, and promotion of bodies of work that are sometimes ignored. In the Portuguese case, the research of José Filipe Costa (2002), Michelle Sales (2011), Paulo Cunha (2015), and Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves (2018) has provided a more accurate view of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary cinema. Other revolutions and social movements have been analyzed by scholars such as Raquel Schefer (2015), Ros Gray (2007), Catherine Roudé (2017) and Mathilde Rouxel (2020).

The use of revolution images may lead to questions about the propensity of memory to flow back into history or, as Paul Ricoeur writes, to remind us that “the men of the past had an open future and left behind unfulfilled dreams, unfinished projects” (Ricoeur 1998, 27, our translation). Films reactivate (or not) revolutionary energy and the tensions that arise from such energy in the populations involved. This encounter may call into question the very definition of a film work which, in militant practices, “demands an extraordinary capacity for ingenuity, logistical invention, tactical and strategic movements” and “leads to a rethinking of the very concept of work as a set of initiatives and not a simple corpus” (Brenez 2013, our translation). Cinema policies and the modes of production they help to shape are another dimension of this strained and creative relationship between cinema and revolution (Costa 2002). What changes in film production when filmmakers are caught in the midst of a revolution? Do we have enough reasons (and means) to write a political history of cinema?

Finally, the connections between cinema and revolution can also be thought through in terms of the ends these images are put to. The study of the circulation and mobility of images is based on the idea that, in revolutionary periods, there are exceptional circumstances, and a formidable aesthetic convergence of different artistic and cultural practices takes place. The revolutionary historical event can then be seen as the nodal point capable of fusing actions and arts into a single momentum. A canonical example is Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino’s The Hour of the Furnaces (1968), which can be analyzed as an “action film” (Mestman 2018, 315). Other films are made in the course of revolutionary action itself and interrogate our relationship with the image that explodes before us, thus immediately becoming a powerful archive: it is the case of Florent Marcie’s Tomorrow Tripoli (2015), which puts the camera inside the Libyan revolution. Films like that reactivate some questions: during the fight, what images should we make (and keep)? To whom should we show them and how?

The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by the deepening of social inequalities, the anachronism of authoritarian regimes and the political exhaustion of democratic systems. It should invite us to analyze the traces, myths, outbursts, failures, and eventual successes of past revolutions so we can attain a better apprehension of the links between cinema, art, and politics. This special section aims to contribute to the constitution of a “cine-geography” (Gray and Eshun 2011, 1) of the forms of “making” cinema and revolution. To return to the anecdote that opened this text, it also aims to launch a fundamental question: how do revolutions continue to exist and manifest themselves even after the event?

Suggested topics

  • Modalities of accompanying a revolution through images: formal and aesthetic aspects;
  • Nature and dynamics of revolutions (social, political, scientific, etc.) and their links with cinema;
  • Circulation and reception of revolutionary cinema;
  • History and memory of revolution images;
  • Existence, inventory, and valorization of revolution archives;
  • The revolution in television and digital archives;
  • Use and reuse of archive images shot during historic revolutions (Mexican revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, May 68, the Carnation Revolution, etc.) in fiction and documentary works;
  • Images of revolts and revolutions in classical and contemporary fiction.

Convenors

This special section is coordinated by Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves (CEIS20, University of Coimbra, Portugal), Nicole Brenez (Sorbonne Nouvelle and La Fémis, France) and Bani Khoshnoudi (artist and independent researcher, USA).

Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves holds a PhD in film studies from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University and is a member of CEIS20 (Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies) at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. He is preparing the publication of his thesis entitled Portuguese Cinema in Revolution. 1974-1982. He is the author of several articles on Portuguese cinema and documentary cinema. Professor of cinema in several universities, he was a programmer, translator, and producer between 2010 and 2016 for Lowave, and has worked as a lecturer for educational activities at Cinémathèque française. He currently works at the Ministry of Culture, in France.

Nicole Brenez is professor of film studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, director of the Analysis and Culture Department at the Fémis, and programmer of avant-garde screenings at the Cinémathèque française. With filmmaker Philippe Grandrieux, she directs the film collection Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre résolution, dedicated to revolutionary filmmakers forgotten or neglected by cinema history. She has worked with Chantal Akerman, Jocelyne Saab, Marylène Negro, Jean-Gabriel Périot, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Kebadian, Jacques Perconte. Among her latest publications are: Manifestations. Écrits politiques sur le cinéma et autres arts filmiques (De l’Incidence, 2020) and Jean-Luc Godard. Écrits politiques sur le cinéma et autres arts filmiques 2 (De l’Incidence, 2022).

Bani Khoshnoudi is a filmmaker and a visual artist. She was born in Tehran and immigrated to the United States in 1979 during the revolution. She studied architecture, photography, and cinema at the University of Texas at Austin, and then continued her studies at the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Her documentary and fiction films dig into the layers, stories and experiences related to global migrations, nomadisms and historical struggles for freedom. Her most well-known film, the documentary essay The Silent Majority Speaks, was banned in Lebanon, and considered as “offensive to the Iranian regime”. Her work has been shown at the Centre Pompidou, Fondation Cartier, Haus de Kulturen Welt, Fundação Serralves, in Porto, and Museo Experimental El Eco, in Mexico City, among others. In 2022, Bani was awarded the prestigious Herb Alpert Award for the Arts in Film/Video. 

Submission guidelines

The deadline for the submission of complete and original articles is July 15, 2023.

All submissions received within the deadline will undergo a selection process (by the editors), followed by blind peer review (by external reviewers). The texts should not be longer than 8000 words, and must include, in English and Portuguese: a title, an abstract of up to 300 words and a maximum of 6 keywords.

Before submitting your complete article, please read the full instructions here.

For queries, please contact: aniki@aim.org.pt

References

Baecque, Antoine de. 2008. Histoire et cinema. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma-SCEREN-CNDP.

Brenez, Nicole. 2013. “Edouard de Laurot et (le) Cinéma Engagé. Remarques préalables”, International symposium ‘Les voies de la révolte: Cinéma, images et révolutions dans les années 1960-1970’. Paris: Musée du Quai Branly.

Costa, José Filipe. 2002. O Cinema ao Poder! A revolução do 25 de Abril e as políticas de cinema entre 1974-1976. Lisbon: Hugin.

Cunha, Paulo. 2015. O Novo Cinema Português: Políticas públicas e modos de produção (1949-1980). PhD Thesis. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra.

Gray, Ros e Eshun, Kodwo. 2011. “The Militant Image: A Ciné-Geography. Editor’s introduction”. Third Text 25(1): 1-12.

Gray, Ros. 2007. Ambitions of Cinema: Revolution, Event, Screen. PhD Thesis. London: Goldsmiths College University of London.

Mestman, Mario. 2018. “A Hora dos Fornos e o cinema político italiano por volta de 1968”. Significação: Revista de Cultura Audiovisual 45(50): 297-317.

Sales, Michelle. 2011. Em Busca de um Novo Cinema Português. Covilhã: Livros LabCom.

Schefer, Raquel. 2015. La Forme-Evénement: le cinéma révolutionnaire mozambicain et le cinéma de libération. PhD Thesis. Paris: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Ricoeur, Paul. 1998. “Histoire et mémoire”. In De l’histoire au cinema, edited by Antoine de Baecque and Christian Delage, 17-28. Bruxelas: Complexe.

Robert-Gonçalves, Mickaël. 2018. Cinéma Portugais en Révolution 1974-1982: Genèse, enjeux, perspectives. PhD Thesis. Paris: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Roudé, Catherine. 2017. Le cinéma militant à l’heure des collectifs: Slon et Iskra dans la France de l’après 1968. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Rouxel, Mathilde. 2020. Figures du peuple en lutte. Des pionnières du cinéma arabe aux réalisatrices postrévolutionnaires (Tunisie, Egypte, Liban, 1967-2020). PhD Thesis. Paris: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.


Date(s)

  • Saturday, July 15, 2023

Keywords

  • revolution, cinema, film studies, film history, archive, carnation revolution

Contact(s)

  • Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves
    courriel : mickael [dot] robertgoncalves [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves
    courriel : mickael [dot] robertgoncalves [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Revolution and Cinema: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Carnation Revolution », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, February 23, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1ama

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