There were innumerable horrors committed by El Salvador’s right-wing death-squad government during the civil war that raged from 1980 to 1992. Alongside the peasants and workers killed or disappeared and the nuns raped, were the priests who were executed. The most sensational execution of all was the murder of Archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Romero, gunned down while celebrating mass.
The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger portrays British Marxist cultural commentator John Berger over a period of five years.
Berger was a well-known figure on 1960s British TV, explaining and democratising art theory. He rocketed to international fame with his early 1970s book Ways of Seeing. Combining it with an accompanying TV series, he articulated a dialectical and demystifying approach to art.
Two very different exhibitions communicate critical evidence about the Aboriginal experience of the 1967 referendum, through which the Australian constitution was amended to remove the racist provisions of sections 51 and 127.
That victory certainly did not end racism in Australia, but opened up the possibility of a broader, unfinished struggle.
The Cuban Revolution has created international ripples ever since its military victory on January 1, 1959. The United States was quick to recognise the threats to its dominance in Latin America and set out to crush the rebel regime.
In response, the revolution’s leaders took the process rapidly leftwards, socialising property and seeking to help revolutionaries in other countries. The moral and political weight of Cuba’s revolutionaries remains far out of proportion to their economic and military strength.
Cuban moral authority within the Third World of super-exploited countries is absolute. However, the Cuban Revolution has proven a litmus test for the intellectual and moral fibre of socialist currents in the advanced capitalist countries — a test that some have failed.
David Kilcullen operates in the post-structural, morally grey nether world that neoliberalism has created. Not quite a mercenary — but not much better — he slides between being an Australian soldier, a top-level civilian strategic thinking adviser to the US military, a “security consultant” and an academic.
Directed by Mick Jackson
Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson & Timothy Spall
In Cinemas now
In 1996 the vile “historian” David Irving sued US historian Deborah Lipstadt for libel. She had labelled Irving anti-Semitic because of his persistent claims that the Nazi Holocaust had not occurred.
Irving sued Lipstadt in London because under Britain’s libel laws, the burden of proof would be on her. In other words, Lipstadt would have to prove the Holocaust actually did occur.
Directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring Joel Edgerton & Ruth Negga
Loving is based on the true story of Richard and Muriel Loving, a white man and Black woman who married in 1958. Living in segregated, Jim Crow-era Virginia they were arrested and convicted of miscegenation — the crime of Black people and white people marrying or having sex.
As a result, for 25 years they were judicially exiled from the state. Years of court battles culminated in a unanimous 1967 Supreme Court decision in their favour.
Silence is a film of ideas, examining the meaning of mercy and compassion, and the personal cost of betrayal. It is also visually stunning. The cinematography has been nominated for an Academy Award and rightfully so.
It poses fascinating theological questions, their historical bases and the comparison between their Christian and Buddhist understandings. With so much going for it, why does Silence fail?
Janis, Little Girl Blue
Directed by Amy J. Berg
Janis Joplin, the gravel-voiced Queen of the San Francisco psychedelic music scene, may seem a bit dated to today’s listeners. But this documentary shows just how important she is.
Born into a conservative family in a Texas back-water, she discovered early that she was different. Her sexual feelings towards other girls cut her apart from the rest of the KKK-drenched society.