OVID MAY PROGRAMMING: BFI Partnership Brings Works by Jean-Luc Godard, Mad Max director George Miller, Laura Mulvey, and Peter Wollen to the Platform

OVID.tv Launches New Collection of Films

The first wave of releases includes titles directed by, amongst others:
Lindsay Anderson, Stephen Frears, Anne-Marie Mieville
& Jean-Luc Godard, George Miller, Karel Reisz,
and Nagisa Oshima. 

OVID.tv announced a wide-ranging selection of films to be released in just the first three weeks of May, with three main features:

  • Five films on Friday, May 1st—International Workers’ Day—move from the history of work and rebellion, to the nature of the modern economy and the situation of worker today, featuring Peter Miller’s definitive SACCO AND VANZETTI, with the prison letters written by the men read by Tony Shalhoub and John Turturro. 
  • Twelve films from the British Film Institute (BFI), including four on the history of world cinema directed by Stephen Frears, Anne-Marie Mieville & Jean-Luc Godard, George Miller, and Nagisa Oshima. (More titles from the BFI will be released in June).
  • And for a change of pace, celebrate the Park Slope Food Coop with a charming portrait of the iconic market and its members.

OVID, the streaming service for independent films, is available in the U.S. and Canada. New subscribers can sign-up for a free 14-day trial. After, that subscriptions are just $6.99/mo or $69.99 for an annual subscription.

Friday, May 1st

Futures Market
Directed by Mercedes Alvarez; Icarus Films, Documentary

A film essay in tableaux, FUTURES MARKET traces the connections between memory, public space, and the real estate bubbles that led to the international financial crisis.

The Coal Miner’s Day
Directed by Gael Mocaer; Icarus Films, Documentary

Every day hundreds of men risk life and limb going down into the Buzhanska mine in the Ukraine to mine coal with rusty old tools from the Soviet era. It is heavy, unhealthy, hazardous work, which thanks to the relatively high pay-two to four times what people earn in the city-is nevertheless tempting to many young men. Once a year, they are honored during the Day of the Mineworker-another relic from the Soviet era, when the most deserving workers receive a rose from the director of the mine in a kitschy ceremony. For the rest of the year the workers are ignored, pestered or intimidated by their bosses, and no one is concerned with their safety.

THE COAL MINER’S DAY documents their work underground, their comradeship and dissatisfaction in and around the mine over the course of a year. Gradually overcoming the skepticism of the mineworkers, the filmmaker captures a series of oppressive, revealing moments. 

The Internationale
Directed by Peter Miller; Icarus Films, Documentary

Exploring relationships between music, history and social change, THE INTERNATIONALE is a serious but often irreverent meditation on socialism, idealism, and the power of music in people’s lives.

The film includes performances and interviews with musicians and activists from around the world, including Billy Bragg and Pete Seeger, and people from the U.S., Israel, the Philippines, China, and the Soviet Union.

Sacco and Vanzetti
Directed by Peter Miller; First Run Features, Documentary

Sacco and Vanzetti brings to life the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists who were accused of a murder in 1920, and executed in Boston in 1927 after a notoriously prejudiced trial.

Powerful prison writings (given voice by John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub) and passionate interviews with Howard Zinn, Arlo Guthrie and Studs Terkel are interwoven with artwork, music, and film clips. Through the story of Sacco and Vanzetti, audiences will experience a universal – and very timely – tale of official injustice and human resilience.

Waiting for the Carnival
Directed by Marcelo Gomes; Icarus Films, Documentary

The small village of Toritama is a microcosm of relentless capitalism. Each year, more than 20-million pairs of jeans are produced in make-shift factories. The locals work non-stop hours, proud to be the masters of their own time. During Carnival – the only leisure moment of the year – they transgress the logic of accumulation of goods, sell their belongings without regret and flee to the beaches in search of ephemeral happiness. When Ash Wednesday arrives, a new work cycle begins. 

Tuesday, May 5th

The Song of Ceylon
Directed by Basil Charles Wright; British Film Institute, Documentary

The Song of Ceylon was originally commissioned as a series of short travelogues, but spawned an ambitious film transforming travelogue (exotic animals, eye-catching scenery, quirky customs) into a dreamlike film poem. Critics have since argued every possible position on the film’s portrayal of colonialism and its subjects. Only during editing did the film find its intricate design, a documentary ‘song’ in four movements.

The first, ‘The Buddha’, is an impression of religious and cultural practices. ‘The Virgin Island’ is the most factually informative, featuring fishing and agricultural scenes. ‘The Voice of Commerce’ highlights the film’s most controversial aspect, its ambivalence towards British imperialism. The final section, ‘The Apparel of a God’, returns to ritualistic images, as if synthesising the verse and chorus of Ceylon’s ‘song’.

Directed by Viktor Turin; First Run Features, British Film Institute

With bold and exhilarating flair, Turksib charts the monumental efforts to build a railway linking the regions of Turkestan and Siberia in 1920s USSR. With its signature use of Soviet montage and a similarly typical portrayal of huge collective efforts and modern engineering strength conquering the natural world, Turksib is a striking example of 1920s Soviet filmmaking.

A significant influence on the British documentary school, the film is presented here in the English version prepared for exhibition by John Grierson, with an evocative new score by Guy Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital).

Friday, May 8th

100 Years of Japanese Cinema
Directed by Nagisa Oshima; British Film Institute, Documentary

The forces and themes that have shaped his nation’s cinema drive Nagisa Oshima’s forceful and erudite essay. Based entirely on archive footage, it considers the rediscovery of Daisuke Ito’s Chuji’s Travel Diary (1927), the drive for greater realism in depictions of family life and society; the appeal of war films and comedies, and struggles against censorship.

2 X 50 Years of French Cinema
Directed by Anne-Marie Miéville & Jean-Luc Godard; British Film Institute, Documentary

Jean-Luc Godard produced this ambitious project, directed by his wife, Anne-Marie Miéville. Travelling around six regions (each of which featured in a classic film) he interviews young locals to consider the films, the region and their significance, if any, for them. Jean-Luc Godard meets with the president of France’s First Century of Cinema, Michel Piccoli in the restaurant of an unnamed hotel and confronts him with his theory that French cinema has been forgotten. The president tests the theory on the staff of the hotel and leaves in a state of disillusionment, pursued by 1001 phantoms from his own fond memories.

40,000 Years of Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema
Directed by George Miller; British Film Institute, Documentary

The film is mainly a collage of various pieces of Australian film, past and present, including Miller’s own Mad Max series.

Typically British: A Personal History of British Cinema
Directed by Stephen Frears & Michael Dibb; British Film Institute, Documentary

In “Typically British”, director Stephen Frears explores the wealth of stylish and familiar images created by the British film industry in the 20th century, aided by fellow directors Alexander Mackendrick, Michael Apted, and Alan Parker and writer Gavin Lambert. Shown on the set of `Mary Reilly’, Frears hosts a guided tour through seventy-five years of British cinema from Hitchcock’s `Blackmail’ (1920) through to Mike Newell’s `Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994).

Tuesday, May 12th

Every Day Except Christmas
Directed by Lindsay Anderson; British Film Institute, Documentary Series

Lindsay Anderson’s documentary depiction of the frenetic existence of Covent Garden market porters, produced by Karel Reisz.

At nearly 40 minutes in length and with Walter Lassally’s virtuoso 35mm cinematography, it’s a more polished production than the earliest examples of Free Cinema, while retaining the stylistic and tonal signatures of the movement. Every Day Except Christmas went on to win the Grand Prix at the 1957 Venice Film Festival.

Momma Don’t Allow
Directed by Karel Reisz & Tony Richardson; British Film Institute, Documentary

This lively profile of a night out at the Wood Green Jazz Club is one of the key works of Free Cinema.

We Are the Lambeth Boys
Directed by Karel Reisz; British Film Institute, Documentary

Karel Reisz’s honest depiction of South London teens aimed to challenge the media perception of ‘Teddy Boys’.

Friday, May 15th

Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti
Directed by Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen; British Film Institute, Documentary, Documentary

This tautly structured documentary sheds light on the work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Italian photographer Tina Modotti, women icons of the Mexican Renaissance. The film not only explores the two women’s artworks, but also includes rare footage of Modotti in the 1920 Hollywood film The Tiger’s Coat. We’re also treated to some exquisite home movie shots of Frida Kahlo and Mexican muralist Diego Rivera at their Blue House in Mexico City.

Directed by Patrick Keiller; British Film Institute, Documentary

A ‘fin-de-siecle’ personal portrait of London from an English experimental filmmaker, shot over a period of twelve months, which saw the election of John Major as prime minister, renewed IRA bombings, the ‘Black Wednesday’ European monetary crisis and the ‘fall of the house of Windsor’.

The Song of the Shirt
Directed by Sue Clayton; British Film Institute, Documentary

The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed. Informed by experimental film practice and evoking a serialised Victorian novel, this unusual film investigates the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy’ in the sweatshop-style London clothes trade using contemporary text, archival material and reconstruction. The piece takes its name from the 1843 poem written by Thomas Hood about a seamstress living in appalling conditions.

Emma Hedditch notes that the many different groups involved in its production meant the film became “a subject of debate in itself”, and that “while it still addresses ideas of feminist history and Marxist theory, it can also be read as a rather more ambitious project that fuses the history of fashion, literacy and sexuality.”

Tuesday, May 19th
Food Coop
Directed by Tom Boothe; Bullfrog Films, Documentary
 FOOD COOP takes us deep into the belly of the Park Slope Food Coop, one of America’s oldest cooperative food supermarkets, with a healthy dose of insight and wit.

Nestled deep in New York City, which, for many, exemplifies both the glory and the horrors of the capitalist spirit, you can find this highly prosperous institution, just as American and certainly more efficient than Wall Street, but whose objective is entirely non-profit. Working against everything that defines ‘The American Way of Life,’ the basic principles of the Park Slope Food Coop are simple: each of its 16,000 members work 2.75 hours per month to earn the right to buy the best food in New York at incredibly low prices. This Brooklyn coop founded in 1973 is probably the best implemented socialist experience in the United States.

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