Presented by the Autonomous Zone and Columbia College’s Latino Alliance, the Anarchist Film Festival runs Friday through Sunday, May 5 through 7, at Women in the Director’s Chair Theater, 941 W. Lawrence, and Columbia College Hokin Center, 623 S. Wabash. Suggested donation is $7 on Friday and Sunday, May 5 and 7, and $5 on Saturday, May 6. A festival pass, good for all four screenings, is $15. Unless otherwise noted, all films will be shown by video projection. For more information call 773-252-6019, ext. 2.


Born in Flames

Set in a future New York City that ideologically and practically bears a close resemblance to the present (the film’s budget was minuscule), Lizzie Borden’s radical feminist feature focuses on two clandestine radio stations and the announcers who speak for them–a black woman named Honey, who espouses cooperation and community, and a white punk anarchist named Isabel, whose message is more negative and divisive. For all their differences, both women and both radio stations wind up seeming united in relation to the repressiveness of the mainstream media, which also figure substantially in the plot. Made piecemeal over a number of years and first released in 1983, this 90-minute comic fantasy has lost little of its radical edge–in contrast to Borden’s subsequent Working Girls, which accommodated itself to a wider audience. (JR) Three short video presentations round out the program. The 15-minute Untitled #29.95: A Video About Video (1999), by Anonymous Video Aktivists, is described as “extralegal sabotage of the video high-art market.” Scott Berry’s eight-minute video Gay Shame (1989) documents radical queers’ attacks on the politics of Gay Pride. “Footage From the April 16 Protests in D.C.” is 30 minutes of raw video footage shot “at the ground level” during the recent protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. (WIDC Theater, 7:00)



Matt Pizzolo and Katie Nisa’s 100-minute video (1998) is a militant antiracist independent feature shot in New York City. On the same program, David Murphy’s 35-minute video Free Ride (1997), which follows rail-riding “hobos and anarchists” as they travel from California to an activists’ conference in Chicago. (Hokin Center, 1:00)

L’age d’or

Luis Bunuel’s most radical feature remains his first (1930), the follow-up to his remarkable Un chien andalou. Forsaking consecutive plot, this hour-long equivalent to an anarchist bomb starts off like a fake documentary before assaulting church, state, and society–particularly high society–in the name of eros. (The frustration of erotic love comprises the film’s longest stretch of narrative, but the film as a whole is built more as a polemic than a story–and one that’s directed against civilization itself.) Banned for decades, it continues to pack a jolt. It’s funny, blasphemous, sexy, strange, subtle, and evocative in its uses of sound, as well as thoroughly Buñuelian, though without the bittersweet sense of resigned acceptance that characterizes some of his later works. With the exception of his subsequent documentary Las hurdes, Buñuel remained virtually unemployed as a director for 17 years after this ferocious act of revolt. When he finally returned to filmmaking, it was as a narrative director who created something quite different from the wild poetry of his first three films–though his late films recall it in snatches. The tinkling cowbells in L’age d’or can be heard again in Belle de jour (1966), for instance. (JR) On the same program: Carol Leigh’s 30-minute video Die Yuppie Scum (1989), an “impressionistic melange” shot during an anarchists’ gathering in San Francisco in the late 80s, and Leslie Raymond’s 16-millimeter film Rife With Fire (1996, 8 min.), which profiles an “incendiary artist” who creates experimental art using flame. (Hokin Center, 3:30)


Zero de conduite

Jean Vigo’s 1933 masterpiece charts the rebellion of three young French boys in a sordid little provincial boarding school. A wholly original creation, the film walks a narrow line between surrealist farce and social realism. The most famous sequence, which leads directly to Lindsay Anderson’s If . . . , has the boys atop the school on graduation day, merrily dumping garbage on the assembled dignitaries–some of whom are cardboard cutouts. 44 min. (DK) Three shorts complete the program. Martin Sorrondeguy’s Beyond the Screams (1999) is a 30-minute video documentary on Latino punk rock. Mujeres Unidas is a 15-minute video about collectivism, made by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico. And Women’s Art Making Party, running a half hour, compiles interviews with female members of an art collective in D.C. (WIDC Theater, 7:00)