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Resistance Isn’t Futile: Films on the Occasion of a Presidential Inauguration

Resistance Isn’t Futile: Films on the Occasion of a Presidential Inauguration

Pearl Pistols, by Kelly Gallagher

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028


Resistance takes many forms, riotous and quiet, political and economic, through education and through engagement.  In our program this week, we look at some forms of resistance – by people and groups and filmmakers, by seeing some of the ways that films have found dynamic ways and unheralded people to face dark times and make better futures.  We’ll also take a look at a few of the issues of the day, to remember the troubles of the past that people have resisted, and how some of them have never left us.  Featuring films by Straub-Huillet, Kelly Gallagher, Kevin Jerome Everson, Marco Kane Braunschweiler, Penelope Spheeris, Robert Fenz, Danny Lyon, and more.  Curated by Adam Hyman

Tickets: $10 general; $6 for students/seniors; free for Filmforum members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.


Black Panther

Black Panther

1969, 14 min.

This is the film the Black Panthers used to promote their cause. Shot in 1969, in Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento, this exemplar of 1960s activist filmmaking traces the development of the Black Panther organization. In an interview from jail, Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton describes the origins of the Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver explains the Panthers' appeal to the Black community, and Chairman Bobby Seale enumerates the Panther 10-Point Program as Panthers march and demonstrate.

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Key to the Cities by Kevin Jerome Everson

Key to the Cities

By Kevin Jerome Everson

2008, 16mm, 1:45, black and white

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Pearl Pistols, by Kelly Gallagher

Pearl Pistols

By Kelly Gallagher

2014, video, 3 min.

Pearl Pistols is an animated glitter bomb and resurrection of a speech by the radical and revolutionary civil rights leader Queen Mother Moore.


National Rehabilitation Center, by Penelope Spheeris

National Rehabilitation Center

By Penelope Spheeris

1969, 16mm screened from digital, 14 min

Preserved by the Academy Film Archive.

Two years before Peter Watkins’ Punishment Park (1971), director Penelope Spheeris takes the McCarran Act to its inevitable next step and shows us—via an early use of mockumentary—what the U.S. might be like if potential subversives were simply locked up en masse before they had a chance to subvert anything.

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Bradley Manning Had Secrets, by Adam Butcher

Bradley Manning Had Secrets

By Adam Butcher

2012, color, 5:30

Written and Directed by Adam Butcher

Animation: Ben Claxton, Adam Butcher

The story of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley), not as a Wikileaks 'hacktivist', but as a young American soldier simultaneously going through a crisis-of-conscious and a crisis-of-gender-identity.
Animated in a rotoscoped pixel-art style and using dialogue from Chelsea’s online conversations, the film explores issues of personal and political secrets, digital identity and alienation.


El Mojado, [The Wetback] by Danny Lyon

El Mojado

By Danny Lyon

1974, New Mexico, color, 14 minutes

English and Spanish with subtitles,

Produced by J.J. Meeker.

A portrait of a hard-working undocumented laborer from Mexico.

"It's like being a hunter, but you're stalking human beings, and that's a lot more fun." -- Border Patrol Officer

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Crossings, by Robert Fenz


By Robert Fenz

2006-07, 16mm, 10 min.

In Crossings (2006–07), made for the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Fenz conveys more sensate information about the United States–Mexico border wall. ...By visually simulating what the wall symbolizes, Fenz depicts terror and awe as impossibly intertwined. -- TRINIE DALTON

James Baldwin

James Baldwin #1-#5 by Marco Braunschweiler

James Baldwin #1-#5

By Marco Braunschweiler

2014, HD video, 4:11

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Portrait #2: Trojan, by Vanessa Renwick

Portrait #2: Trojan

By Vanessa Renwick
2006, 5 minutes, 35mm to SD video  
score: Sam Coomes; cinematography: Eric Edwards; edit: Vanessa Renwick

The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, with its 499-foot tall cooling tower that loomed over its otherwise bucolic Columbia river setting, is the only commercial nuclear power plant ever built in the state of Oregon, at the cost of $450 million in the 1970's economy (almost 3 trillion dollars in today’s money). Beset by environmental concerns and citizen protest from the moment it began operations in 1975, resting in close proximity to a fault line, suffering unplanned closures due to leaking steam tubes and other operating issues, and shortly after Portland General Electric spent $4.5 million to defeat a ballot measure to shut the reactor down, the plant finally closed for good in 1993, after only 17 years in operation.

En rachâchant

By Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub

1982, France, b&w, 8 min.

Text by Marguerite Duras: “Ah! Ernesto!” (1971)  Image by Henri Alekan and Louis Cochet