Edinburgh’s first “Celebrating Cultures of Resistance” all-day film festival took place on 20 March at the Banshee Labyrinth, a unique venue near the Royal Mile. Organised by the local Anarchist Federation group and supported by AK Press and the local Solidarity with the Serbian 6 campaign, the event was a big success.
And this despite an error on the publicity that listed the starting time an hour too early! Organisers met would-be filmgoers outside the venue and had to ask them to come back an hour later, which most did!
Once the event was under way things ran a lot more smoothly. Banshee Labyrinth is just that – a labyrinth. A popular drinking hole with a great vintage, the atmosphere of an ancient monument and featuring a small cinema amongst its cellars!
One part of the venue was given over to stalls and a live DJ while moviegoers were treated to free showings of some of the most excellent revolutionary-themed international films of recent years. These included De Toda la Vida, the story of the Mujeres Libres (Free Women) organisation during the Spanish Civil War and Revolution; The Rebel Patagonia, about social struggles in 1920s Argentina; the legendary John Sayles movie, Matewan, set in the same period but in West Virginia, USA; and finally, Army of Crime, last year’s French movie about the Manouchian group – a part of the French resistance made up of anti-fascist refugees but whose main character struggled with his pacifist beliefs.
Bringing things right up to date was The Old School of Capitalism (from Serbia), part-film, part-documentary about Serbia’s transition to free-market capitalism.
Most attendees stayed for the whole programme. Possibly the only downside of the day was the lack of discussions and interactions between the audience, many of whom were not politically active, and the organisers.
This left some of the activists with the feeling that the event was a little too passive and there is a determination to link the next film festival with introductions and follow-up talks aimed at involving people and allowing them to find out more about cultures of resistance a little closer to home.