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April 10

Two Documentaries by Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez

Filmmakers Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez met during their participation in the occupation of Harvard’s Massachusetts Hall as part of the student movement in 2001 to force the university to allow workers to unionize. The two have gone on to form their own production company and have produced three documentaries. This program brings together their first collaboration and their latest.

Together the two films form a diptych, twin looks at what grassroots organizations can do, starting from their immediate surroundings and from the conditions and materials at hand, as well as how today's political strategies and tactics have evolved from previous struggles and how they are renewing themselves in the face of continued resistance and the collapse of past ideologies and organizations. – David Pendleton

The Harvard Film Archive is pleased that Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez will join us this evening.

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Sunday April 10 at 7pm


Directed by Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez, Appearing in Person.
USA 2002, digital video, color, 44 min.

A dynamic story of how students and immigrant janitors took on—and defeated—one of the most powerful corporations in the world, Occupation documents the historic three-week sit-in by the Harvard Living Wage Campaign. The Campaign won unprecedented gains for low-wage workers at the world’s most affluent university and catapulted the living wage movement to the center of public attention. In demonstrating one local response to corporate power in an age of globalization, Occupation powerfully depicts how people from dramatically different backgrounds were able to raise their hands together in victory.

Bastards of Utopia

Directed by Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez, Appearing in Person.
USA 2010, digital video, color 54 min.

Three Croatian activists struggle to change the world. As children, they lived through the violent collapse of Yugoslavia. Now, amid the aftershocks of socialism's failure, they fight in their own way for a new leftism. Whether clashing with police or squatting in an old factory, the activists risk everything to live their politics. As the setbacks mount, will they give up the fight? The film, shot during years of fieldwork with a Croatian anarchist collective, applies a unique blend of observation, direct participation and critical reflection to this misunderstood political movement. Its portrayal of activism is both empathetic and unflinching—an engaged, elegant meditation on the struggle to re-imagine leftist politics and the power of a country's youth.

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