REDS
1981, Paramount, 195 min, USA, Dir: Warren Beatty

A love triangle between radical journalist John Reed (Warren Beatty, who also produced, directed and cowrote the film), socialite Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) and playwright Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson) gives a human dimension to this insightful look at the birth of communism. Framing the narrative are remembrances from a number of Reed’s contemporaries, whose perspectives bring the era’s optimism and disappointments into even sharper focus. The film earned 12 Academy Award nominations, including wins for Beatty’s direction, Maureen Stapleton’s supporting performance (as activist Emma Goldman) and Vittorio Storaro’s breathtaking cinematography.


THE BIRTH OF A NATION
2016, Fox Searchlight, 120 min, USA, Dir: Nate Parker

Based on a true story, this powerful drama about a slave rebellion 30 years before the Civil War won the Audience Award and U.S. Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Nat Turner (writer-director Parker), a literate slave and preacher, is hired out by his owner (Armie Hammer) to spread a gospel of subservience; the atrocities he witnesses convince Turner to orchestrate an uprising. “THE BIRTH OF A NATION exists to provoke a serious debate about the necessity and limitations of empathy, the morality of retaliatory violence, and the ongoing black struggle for justice and equality in this country. It earns that debate and then some.” - Justin Chang, Variety.


THE BELOVED ROGUE
1927, 99 min, Dir: Alan Crosland

Based on the life of poet François Villon, this silent is set in William Cameron Menzies’ fantastic vision of 15th-century Paris and is packed with adventure and laughs. Star John Barrymore described Villon as a “poet, pickpocket, patriot - loving France earnestly, French women excessively, and French wine exclusively.” With Conrad Veidt as King Louis XI.


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