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Disruptive film: everyday resistance to power, this way to the exit: escape routes from the real

Ernest Larsen

Sherry Millner

November 9, 2018 8:00 pm

Disruptive film: everyday resistance to power, is a three nights screening program curated by Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen. Fifteen short-form experimental political non-fiction films and videos from eleven countries and from 50 years of film history are gathered from both volumes 1 and 2 of disruptive film’s initial program. Since 2008, Millner and Larsen have been seeking out moving-image non-fiction media that approaches its material from a distinctly radical point of view – at once aesthetically and politically. Disruptive film: everyday resistance to power consists of short-films that depict different forms of resistance to power across the globe. In the form of radical experimental non-fiction media these short-films span from 1914 to the early 21st century, thus giving an overview of the diverse approaches to documentary filmmaking. The general ambition of the program is described by Millner and Larsen as follows, it’s the construction of an “alternative history of non-fiction film.” – a history that has at times been obstructed and oppressed.  Moreover, they are interested in heterogeneous films, films made at disparate geographical and historical nods, that communicate between each other, constructing then, according to Larsen, “for audience/participants the texture of an event”.

Minus 6, 1:49, 2008, Leslie Thornton. Imagery the nazis ordered destroyed: Hitler practicing his repertoire of demagogic gestures for his speeches, a veritable template of the trained spontaneity of the great leader to this day.  Déjà Vu all over again in an era of rising white nationalism fanned by opportunist conservative billionaires.

Scenes from the micro-war, 24 min, 1985, Millner & Larsen. chosen for the 2107 Thessaloniki biennial, this is a risky and sharply prophetic satiric excoriation of Reagan-era militarism. The first film to exploit and aesthetics of camouflage, it redefines the American family as it is restricted from a consumerist to a military unit.

Xochimilco 1914, los viumasters, 4:39 min, 2010. On the morning of December 4th, 1914,  the legendary Mexican revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata met for the first time. An original stenographic record of their conversation just hours before they took control of Mexico city exists. This punk animation playfully explores the words of these revolutionary heroes while intimating the historic repercussions of their deeds.

Rock the cradle, 43 min, 2010, Millner & Larsen. Shot in the streets of Thessaloniki, and at an anti-fascist festival in Serbia, this video essay explores the fierce challenge posed by the Greek uprising of December 08 – January ’09 to the rule of global capital and the state. The video proposes that anti-representational politics, at once new and revived, has brought together a perhaps unprecedented alliance of excluded intransigent forces: youth, the class of ‘precarious’ workers, a grassroots union movement, illegal immigrants, and anarchists. These forces mounted a remarkable resistance while carving out oppositional forms of life, in real and virtual spaces they defend as autonomous, beginning thereby to map a new commons in the face of a metastasizing socio-economic crisis.

Sherry Millner was the initial chair of the media culture department at the College of Staten Island, Cuny. her many films and videos have been exhibited at festivals throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. In addition to festival awards for her work, she has been the recipient of residencies and grants from NYFA, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, Long Beach Museum, The U-cross Foundation, Can Serrat, Babayan Culture House, and Light Works, among others.

Ernest Larsen writes fiction, media criticism, and frequently collaborates with co-curator Sherry Millner on film and video projects his criticism has been published in the nation, art in America, the village voice, art journal, the independent, among others –along with essays in a number of anthologies. Ernest is also a scriptwriter and contributing producer for several PBS series. he has received grants, residencies, and awards from the Jerome Foundation, Paul Robeson Foundation, Macdowell Foundation, Blue Mountain Center, Gunk Foundation, and The Blumenthal Foundation.