Limazulu presents “Militant Cinema”, a short season of films exploring the themes and circumstances surrounding Workerism (Operaismo), a Marxist tendency within the Italian workers movement from the 1960s. Through allegory and pastiche the films expand and illustrate the ideas contained within the movement. First, that it is the working class who are the active agent within capitalism rather than capital, which is always reactive to the movements of the working class, subjugating and oppressing their innovations. Second, that Marx should be radically re-read beginning with works such as the Grundrisse to reunderstand Marxism as a thorough going materialism. Third, that the answer is for workers within a constantly shifting class structure to unite around the abolition of the system of wage labour, rather than agitate for more equity in its mediation. Rather than pass through a period of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, communism could be established more immediately, through struggling for autonomy of the working class from capitalism, a capitalism whose continuation is contingent on their labour. Opposed to more traditional Leninist parties such as the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano), workerist tactics of occupation, sabotage and the valorisation of the working class spilled into concern for the place of women’s work in the home, for ‘the social factory’ and the cooperative and hence proto-communist nature of working class life.
This eclectic group of films help trace the ideas of the movement and portray something of the social context in which it was born, promising a broad and colourful introduction to late 20th Century Italy - a site of mass insurrection, violent struggle and state repression, with a legacy that has left the Italian political landscape with permanent and bloody scars.
Saturday 25th June- (4pm) Omicron + Porto Marghera-The Last Firebrands
Monday 27th- (7:30pm) Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Wednesday 29th- (7:30pm) Mimi metallurgico ferito nell'onore
Friday 1st July- (7:30pm) Il Posto + Gli uomini che mascalzoni
Sunday 3rd July- (4pm) Dillinger Is Dead + The Working Class Goes to Heaven
There will also be a talk and discussion on the season- more details to follow.
Omicron (Gregoretti, 1964)
In a light-hearted parody of the capitalist system, this sci-fi film follows an alien who inhabits the body of a dead earthling in order to learn the customs and functions of modern humans.
Porto Marghera-The Last Firebrands (Pellarin , 2004)
Following workers at Porto Maghera petrochemical works through the sixties and seventies, this short documentary traces the complex and often tense relations between workers and political activists and changing class composition through key moments of struggle. Through radical political organising and direct appropriation of goods and services workers at the plant challenged tradition labour hierarchies and capital in their struggle.
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Petri, 1970)
This Oscar-winning story of a police inspector and a sex-game gone wrong plays as an allegory on state violence in Italy at the time- touching on the political situation directly, it also examines the systemic abuse of power as those who hold it do everything possible to maintain it.
Mimi metallurgico ferito nell’onore (Wertmüller, 1972)
Mimi’s vote in the secret ballot isn’t as secret as he had thought, and casting his vote against the Mafia’s man wasn’t such a wise idea. Forced out of Sicily, he moves in with a communist organizer with whom he fathers a child- but domestic bliss doesn’t ensue, as he’s already married, and soon the Mafia are back at this door.
Il Posto (Olmi, 1961)
Two suburban youths enter the rat race, looking for a career on the monotonous treadmill of Italian corporate life. There’s got to be more to life than the relentless, alienating labour of repetitive, meaningless tasks to keep the boss happy, right?
Gli uomini che mascalzoni (Camerini, 1932)
A short, sweet romantic comedy that serves as a precursor to the later neo-realism Italian film movement, Gli uomini che mascalzoni (What Scoundrels Men Are!) follows the burgeoning love of two working class Milanese, a shop-girl and a mechanic– and the obstacles that work throws in their way.
Dillinger Is Dead (Ferreri, 1969)
Glauco doesn’t think much of the dinner his wife has made him on his return from work as an industrial designer, but she’s in bed. He decides to cook himself something more substantial- but finds a revolver wrapped in a newspaper in the kitchen drawers, and a solution to his isolation.
The Working Class Goes to Heaven ( Petri- 1971)
Lulù Massa is a bosses dream, the quintessential “Mr Block”, enemy of his class, until he loses a finger at work. Newly radicalised, he joins the movement torn between the unions and more radical workers and students- only to be fired during the ensuing strike. Alienated, bored with the monotony of the factory, Lulù is shaken into awareness of his true value as a worker.
25th June – 3rd July 2011
Limazulu Project Space