Friday, April 11, 2014

Film Capsule: Thom Andersen and Noël Burch's Red Hollywood (1996)


Red Hollywood (1996)
Directed by Thom Andersen and Noël Burch

One of the key works in the evolution of the essay film, this incisive video documentary, now remastered and reedited, attempts nothing less than to rewrite the established cinematic record. Commonly marginalized, the talents of the Hollywood Ten—a selection of mid-century communist filmmakers forced into anonymity by the Red Scare and the industry’s efforts to indict such unquantifiable threats against the American moviegoing public—are reconsidered on aesthetic rather than social grounds, while the political undercurrents of the more than 50 excerpted films are illuminated by House Committee footage and interviews with the erstwhile communists themselves. A work of both acute cinephilia and noble conviction, this historical rejoinder to an era of rampantly misplaced paranoia traces an alternate cinematic history that nevertheless played out before our very eyes. (Apr 12-13 at Lincoln Center, part of its Art of the Real series) [The L]

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