Moving Masses

Unless indicated otherwise, films are screened in original language with English and Hungarian subtitles.

Each mass movement has a history of its own. While we constantly hear about waves of mass protest rising worldwide – against economic hardship, political oppression, military invasion, or discrimination, little news coverage goes beyond the surface to investigate the mechanics and context of the mass uprisings. Here documentary film – with its longitudinal observation, access to unique archival materials and first-hand accounts within an extended time-frame – allows for an enriched insight into the genesis and power relations within these mass protests, and lets us scrutinize their internal dynamism and investigate the broader societal response to the goals and means of different movements. Our choices for the "Moving Masses" program were triggered by the events of the Arab Spring. While many more documentary works will be emerging in the future which will reflect on the events in the Middle East, two films in the program, Tahrir 2011 and #Syria, investigate the changes in medias res, calling the viewer's attention to the revolutionary role that digital technologies played in the unfolding of the events, emphasizing the role of bloggers in influencing and directing the masses as well as media attention. Three other films in the selection look at the events of the more and less distant past which continue to have reverberations up to the present day. The film with the provocative title Here we Drown Algerians uncovers the suppressed history of a mass demonstration in Paris on October 17, 1961 to protest against the curfew imposed on the Algerian residents of France. Lithuanian documentary How we Played the Revolution revisits the history of a punk-rock band, investigating its role in inspiring and the strengthening the movement for Lithuanian independence. Starting as an artistic joke, it moved thousands of people to voice their desire to live in an independent country. Croatian documentary The Blockade looks at the 2009 occupation of Zagreb University by students demanding free education. An involving and undoubtedly partisan chronicle of the events narrated and filmed by the insiders, it reminds us of the spirit of 1968 student movements in Europe which revolutionized the 20th century. Today's mass movements are global, technically equipped, and increasingly dynamic – and the course of the history of the 21st century continues to be shaped by the people who decided to go out and take a stand. Let us see them and listen to their stories.

Oksana Sarkisova


Hamza El Adulla / Spain / 2012 / 57 min / Arabic
The role of social networks in mobilizing a new generation of young activists
in Syria and abroad.

Amer and Obaydah are new media activists of the Syrian Revolution. Living outside Syria, they spend most of their time spreading information about the events in the country using a variety of social networks and online platforms. They devise new ways of working with digital technologies, cooperating with other activists, refugees from Syria, as well as other social groups trying to bring about a change in the country while the civil war unfolds. The film highlights the role of platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the Syrian revolution and looks at the part they play in mobilizing a young generation and spreading the news about events which often remain beyond the reach of the traditional media channels.

editor: Hamza El Abdulla
camera: Jalid El Abdulla
sound: Anas Assayed Omar
music: Malik Jandali

production info:
Hamza El Abdulla

The Blockade

Igor Bezinović / Croatia / 2012 / 93 min / Croatian
A protest cocktail of Marx, Che Gevara, and Croatian Spring reborn: a day-to-day account of the student occupation of Zagreb University in 2009.

The Blockade is a unique view from within of the longest, most massive, and politically most significant student protest in Croatia since 1971, which started in April 2009 at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. The struggle against the commercialization of education and the blockading of classes lasted for 34 days. The rebellion spread onto more than 20 faculties across the country and the students became an active and relevant political subject. The director followed everything: from the exhilarating preparatory meetings and picketing of classrooms to the first signs of exhaustion, from the initial support of most faculty members to the moment they turned their backs on the movement and the attempt to reach the missing minister of education. This film shows that the blockade was not just about physical barriers and that it has a much broader meaning.

producer: Oliver Sertić, Nenad Puhovski
editor: Hrvoslava Brkušić, Maida Srabović, Miro Manojlović
camera: Đuro Gavran, Eva Kraljević, Igor Bezinović, Haris Berbić
sound: Vladimir Božić, Milan Čekić
music: Zli Bubnjari, Antenat, Ibrica Jusić, Naš Mali Afro Bend, Tigrova Mast, Idoli

production info:
Nova Ves 18
10 000 Zagreb
tel.: +385 1 4854 821
tel.: +385 91 531 5205

Naked Hours (2011) / In Fond Memory of TDZ (2010) / Non-Recyclable (2009) / An Encounter (2009) / Above Average (2008)

Here We Drown Algerians - October 17th, 1961

Yasmina Adi / France / 2011 / 90 min / French & Arabic
The untold story of the October 17, 1961 demonstration of Algerians in Paris against the imposed curfew.

On October 17, 1961, thousands of Algerians from Paris and its suburbs responded to the call of the National Liberation Front by marching in protest against the imposed curfew. Fifty years later, Yasmina Adi has taken on the painstaking task of unearthing the memories of the event along with a variety of documents: newspaper articles, radio and television reports, and previously unpublished photographs. The documents are put in perspective with actual eyewitness testimonies and accounts from the families of the missing. The records show overwhelming proof of the violence that costs the lives of many demonstrators whose bodies were gradually found, often thrown into the Seine, while many others were wounded, imprisoned, or sent to Algeria, exhausted, dirty and without their belongings. A powerful story which begins with denial and falls into oblivion.

producer: Blanche Guichou
editor: Audrey Maurion
camera: Laurent Didier
sound: Pierre Carrasco
music: Pierre Carrasco

production info:
Agat Films
tel.: + 33 1 5336 3232

L'autre 8 mai 1945 - Aux Origines de la Guerre d'Algérie (2008)

How We Played the Revolution

Giedrė Žickytė / Lithuania / 2011 / 67 min / Lithuanian
Lithuanian punks crack the wall of Soviet power.

The story begins in 1984, the very beginning of perestroika in the USSR, when a group of architects in Kaunas, Lithuania decided to put on a one-night gig as a New Year party prank. The joke went so well that rumors about the exciting new rock band Antis began to spread. The impressive make-up and props, the stylized showmanship and lyrics added up to a pervasive caricature of Soviet propaganda and perfectly discredited the absurdity of Soviet reality. Soon the group's intellectual clowning spawned the Rock Marches – massive events involving thousands of people. These turned into the great assemblies for Lithuanian independence that later became known as the Singing Revolution. This is a story about a small country that made headlines right across the world.

producer: Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė
editor: Giedrė Žickytė, Samuel Lajus
camera: Audrius Kemežys, Eitvydas Doškus
sound: Vytis Puronas
music: Viktoras Diawara, Vytautas Bikus

production info:
Just a Moment
tel.: +370 686 889 80

After sun and goats (2010) / Baras (2009) / Europe (2006) / Born innocent (2005) / Role (2004)

Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician

Amr Salama & Tamer Ezzat & Ayten Amin / Egypt & Germany / 2011 / 90 min / Arabic
An insider's view of the life of a young generation of Egyptians who chose to have their say in the future of the country.

When Egyptians woke up on January 25, 2011, they never expected the one-day demonstration planned for that public holiday to evolve into a revolution aimed at breaking the regime's 30-year-long grip on power. For the following 18 days, the world watched as millions of Egyptians marched out, calling for an end to injustice, poverty, and corruption. This movement was led by several inspirational and influential young individuals who galvanized support for the movement through the media and social networks. Three young filmmakers decided to tell the yet unfinished story of the revolution from their own point of view, concentrating on the protestors, the police force, and the former president Hosni Mubarak. The focus is on the personal experiences of a handful of individuals whose choices would change the future of their country.

producer: Mohamed Hefzy, Frédéric Sichler
editor: Ayman El Tonsi, Doaa Fadel, Wael Farg, Eric Magriau
camera: Ahmad Gabr, Ahmad Yaaqoob, Hussein Asser, Mohamed El Raouf, Salah Yaaqoob
sound: Ahmed Gaber
music: Khaled Shokry, Ousso

production info:
Film Clinic
tel.: + 202 25 268 050

selected filmography
Amr Salama: Asma'a (2011) / On a Day Like Today (2008)
Tamer Ezzat: The Ring Road (2010)
Ayten Amin: Spring '89 (2009)