Marx at the Movies Conference 16&17 March 2012

I’m speaking at this…

Marx at the Movies Conference
University of Central Lancashire
March 16-17, 2012

As the Lehmans Brothers filled for bankruptcy on September 15 2008 an era came to a halt. No more was there a belief that ‘the Market’ would work for the greater good as long as it was left un-regulated. As the belief in neoliberal theory and practice collapsed, many turned to the alternative theory – that of Marxism, not least because for Marx the challenge for human thought was not simply to understand the world but to change it.

Not for the first time Marx is ‘fashionable’. As David Harvey observes in his introduction to The Communist Manifesto: ‘The Communist Manifesto of 1847 is an extraordinary document, full of insights, rich in meanings and bursting with political possibilities. Millions of people all around the world – peasants, workers, soldiers, intellectuals as well as professionals of all sorts – have, over the years, been touched and inspired by it.’

The same can be said about filmmakers, film academics and students, in view of the fact that cinema, as a collective endeavour and as an industrial art, is an excellent ground to test Marxist dialectical thought. But how has cinema engaged with Marxist theory and practice? How has cinema engaged in processes to create radical social transformation, including decolonisation and the liberation of women? Is there a revival of Marxism in contemporary film theory and practice?

These are some of the questions we want to discuss during the two-day conference, hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Communication in Preston –a town of great importance to the history of the working class, as testified by Marx and Engels’ writings. Papers are sought for topics such as:

The problems of conveying Marxist thought on screen (including attempts to screen Capital)
Representation of alienated and nonalienated labour and capital on screen
The work of Sergei Eisenstein, Bertolt Brecht, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Dušan Makavejev, Satyajit Ray, Ousmane Sembène, Alexander Kluge, Ken Loach, Lars von Trier. Are they Marxist filmmakers? Western and Eastern Marxist film theory and history
Socialist production, distribution and exhibition of films
Marxism, Third cinema and the cinema of revolt
Marxism and feminist cinema
Marxism, realism and non-realism
Screen images of Marx, Engels and Lenin

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