Anthology Film Archives


February 3 – February 16

Online series - now streaming, through February 16!

This fall brought the publication of a brand-new, expanded edition of Richard Porton’s Film and the Anarchist Imagination, a pioneering study whose first edition appeared in 1999. Anthology organized a film series inspired by the book (and co-curated by Porton) in 2011, and we’re pleased to celebrate this important work once again on the occasion of its reappearance.

The films selected to accompany the launch of the expanded second edition of Film and the Anarchist Imagination are preoccupied with pivotal historical events from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as utopian moments from the recent past. They all fuse innovative aesthetic approaches with efforts to represent key anti-authoritarian struggles.

Ken Loach’s LAND AND FREEDOM and Peter Watkins’s LA COMMUNE (PARIS, 1871) go beyond the usual contours of the historical film while underlining the implicitly anarchistic impetus of events that have often been misunderstood or hidden from history: the Paris Commune and the “Spanish Revolution” within the Spanish Civil War.

The other films in this series examine the resurgence of anarchism during the 21st century in the wake of anti-corporate globalization movements and Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots. BASTARDS OF UTOPIA, THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM, and THE MARIBOR UPRISINGS all ponder resistance to corruption and neoliberalism in radical enclaves of the former Yugoslavia. Abigail Child’s ACTS AND INTERMISSIONS recontextualizes Emma Goldman’s legacy and links the legendary anarchist militant’s work to contemporary battles for the rights of workers and immigrants.

Organized in collaboration with Richard Porton, author of Film and the Anarchist Imagination (University of Illinois Press). To order the book, or for more information, click here. Anthology audiences can use the discount code F20UIP for a 30% discount (through December 31, 2021).

Special thanks to Richard Porton, Abigail Child, Maple Razsa & Pacho Velez, Želimir Žilnik, Sarita Matijevic (Playground produkcija), Livia Bloom & Bob Hunter (Icarus Films), Heather Gernenz (University of Illinois Press), Rebecca O’Brien & Emma Lawson (Sixteen Films), and Brian Shingles (The Film Consortium Ltd.).


Streaming for free!
Ken Loach

1995, 110 min, 35mm-to-digital
Like George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, Loach’s film challenges mainstream depictions of the Spanish Civil War and pays homage to the leftists who quarreled with the Communist Party – both the anarcho-syndicalist CNT/FAI and the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, or Marxist Workers’ Party). Like Orwell, Loach’s fictional hero, David Carr (Ian Hart), comes to Spain from England with the intention of fighting alongside the Communists and ends up joining the anti-Stalinist POUM. Employing a mixture of professional actors and non-professionals, the film’s most memorable scene is an extended debate on collectivization in a Spanish village that serves as a capsule summary of internecine arguments within the Spanish and international left.

Available for a streaming rental fee of $10
Peter Watkins

1999, 345 min, digital, b&w. In French with English subtitles.
Labelled “an anarchist masterpiece” by the historian David Armitage, Watkins’s intimate epic is a tribute to the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871, a radical experiment in self-governance that has proved inspirational to both anarchists and Marxists. Instead of focusing on famous Communards and historical incidents, Watkins is more interested in assessing how average Parisians became swept up in an enormous political and social transformation. LA COMMUNE also functions as an incisive critique of media manipulation as Watkins’s Brechtian approach to historical representation pits the government-approved “Versailles TV” against the revolutionary voices of “Commune TV.” The detailed analysis allowed by the film’s nearly six-hour running time constitutes the director’s riposte to mainstream media’s sound bites – or what Watkins labels the “Monoform.”

“Dynamic historical reconstruction in the form of an experimental documentary, Watkins’s six-hour masterpiece is contagiously exciting. Meant to evoke the sensation of revolutionary euphoria, this syncretic work of left-wing modernism is at once immediate and self-reflexive. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and still imbues his narrative with amazing presence.” –J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE

Streaming for free!
Želimir Žilnik

2009, 122 min, digital. In English & Serbian with English subtitles.
This film by renowned Serbian filmmaker and Yugoslav Black Wave pioneer Želimir Žilnik is rooted in the first wave of workers’ revolts to hit Serbia since the advent of capitalism. Desperate workers bulldoze through factory gates and are devastated to discover the site looted by the bosses. Eccentrically escalating confrontations, including a melee with workers in football shoulder-pads and helmets, and the boss and his security force in bulletproof vests, prove fruitless. Committed young anarchists offer solidarity, and take the bosses hostage. A Russian tycoon, a Wall Street trader, and U.S. Vice President Biden’s visit to Belgrade unexpectedly complicate events. Along the way, the film produces an increasingly complex and yet unfailingly lively account of present-day, up-to-the-minute struggles under the misery-inducing effects of both local and global capital.

Streaming for free!
Maple Razsa & Pacho Velez

2010, 54 min, digital. In Croatian with English subtitles.
Three Croatian activists struggle to change the world. As children, they lived through the violent collapse of Yugoslavia. But now, amid the aftershocks of socialism’s failure, they fight in their own way for a new leftism. Whether clashing with police or squatting in an old factory, they risk everything to live their politics. But as the setbacks mount, will they give up the fight? The film, shot during years of fieldwork with a Croatian anarchist collective, presents a portrayal of activism that is both empathetic and unflinching – an engaged, elegant meditation on the struggle to re-imagine leftist politics and the power of a country’s youth.

“Dramatic proof that the struggle for liberty is irrepressible.” –Howard Zinn

Available for a streaming rental fee of $6
Abigail Child

2017, 60 min, 16mm-to-digital
“An hour-long collage essay, charging the discussion with Child’s enlightened aesthetic of poetry, the archive, and experimental montage. As the Most Dangerous Woman Alive, Emma Goldman’s life is seen as an ongoing negotiation of revolutionary purity and personal freedom, a complexity that Child mirrors in her own formal strategies. She layers multiple fragments of Emma’s liberatory legacy – from archive, from reenactment and from observational cinema – her speculative play with the revolutionary ideas extending to the present moment of feminist revolt!” –Craig Baldwin

“Since the 1970s, Abigail Child has been a significant voice in experimental documentary. Her ACTS & INTERMISSIONS combines several visual formats and sound collages to connect modern-day protest with early 20th-century dissident Emma Goldman, once called ‘the most dangerous woman alive.’ It’s a bracing work that finds alarming patterns and repetitions in methods of repression over the past century.” –Daniel Eagan, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL

Streaming for free!
Maple Razsa & Milton Guillén

2017, 57 min, digital
Twice the people went into the streets. Twice the police drove them away. What began as protests became uprisings. In the once-prosperous industrial city of Maribor, Slovenia, anger over political corruption became unruly revolt. THE MARIBOR UPRISINGS places audiences in the midst of the third and largest uprising as crowds surround and ransack City Hall under a hailstorm of tear gas canisters. Soon the mayor will resign – and the movement will spread to cities across the country.

THE MARIBOR UPRISINGS takes up urgent questions raised by these events, and by uprisings elsewhere, from the Arab Spring, through Paris, to Black Lives Matter. What sparks such popular outrage? How are participants swept up in – and then changed by – confrontations with police? Could something like this happen in your city?

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