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Fight the Power: Protest in Film 

The Story of Film looks at cinema of the 1980s and examines how directors used movies to protest and speak truth to those in power. It first looks at film-makers in Communist China (Tian ... See full summary »


Mark Cousins


Mark Cousins


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Episode credited cast:
Mark Cousins ... Himself - Presenter
Margaret Thatcher ... Herself (archive footage)
Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage)
Zhuangzhuang Tian ... Himself - Interviewee
Gaston Kaboré ... Himself - Interviewee
David Lynch ... Himself (archive footage)
John Sayles ... Himself - Interviewee
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Herself - Interviewee
Bill Forsyth ... Himself - Interviewee
Terence Davies ... Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Juan Diego Botto ... Narrator (voice)


The Story of Film looks at cinema of the 1980s and examines how directors used movies to protest and speak truth to those in power. It first looks at film-makers in Communist China (Tian Zhuangzhuang, Chen Kaige, and Zhang Yimou) and examines Eastern Europran directors in Georgia (Tengiz Abuladze), the Soviet Union (Elem Klimov, Kira Muratova), and Poland (Krzysztof Kieslowski). It, then, discusses Africa cinema in Burkina Faso (Gaston Kabore) and Mali (Souleymane Cisse). In the United States, films are influenced by music video and the Cold War. It looks at the films of David Lynch, Spike Lee, John Sayles, and Maggie Renzi. In European protest filmmakers thrive in France (Luc Besson and Leos Carax), Spain (Pedro Almodovar and Víctor Erice), England (Stephen Frears, Terence Davies, Peter Greenaway, and Derek Jarman), Scotland (Bill Douglas and Bill Forsyth), Wales (Peter Greenaway), and Canada (David Cronenberg, Norman McLaren, and Denys Arcand). Written by Shatterdaymorn

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Release Date:

19 November 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Hopscotch Films See more »
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Did You Know?


Mark Cousins - Presenter: [about David Lynch] His films protest against the rationality and understandability of everyday life. He worked with unconscious material the way that a carpenter works with wood.
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Features House of Flying Daggers (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Fight the Power: The Protest Film
22 July 2013 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Here we discover "Horse Thief" and sacred burial involving vultures. Scorsese called it the best film of the decade. Chinese Buddhist film eventually brought "House of Flying Daggers", a mastery of the digital film.

"Repentance" created a sensation, blending Stalin and Hitler into one dictator. It literally changed the world when Gorbachev approved it for release, sparking glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Narrator Cousins calls "Come and See" the "greatest war film ever made". That is a bold statement, but he may be on to something -- the imagery, the symbolism, and the pure dread... this easily matches or surpasses the great American war films.

In Poland we have "A Short Film About Killing", inspired by "Psycho". Could it be the most disturbing murder ever shown on screen? Allegedly it caused the authorities to revise Poland's death penalty.

The 1980s also brought some mirror images of the American Dream: "Top Gun" on the one hand and "Blue Velvet" on the other. The 1980s as a whole were a low mark for cinema in America, according to Cousins (and I think many many would agree). While countless fun films came out, the critical aspects were often neglected.

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