On YouTube, a channel to decipher the relationship between cinema and politics

The voice placed on a text constructed like an Arte documentary, it cuts out the components of a film one by one. By deciphering the scenario, but also the construction of the plans, the more or less explicit evocations and the context surrounding the release of the films, the expert recalls to what extent nothing is left to chance in the construction of a film.

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In its 15 to 30 minute videos, the voice of the channel Cinema and politics explains with pedagogy the political messages carried by eight more or less famous films. In nine months of existence, it has gathered nearly 5,000 subscribers.

Is Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus a Marxist hero or rather the embodiment of American Protestant ethics? Was Sergei Eisenstein’s work at the service of Soviet propaganda or his own theorizing of cinema?

The proposed answers unfold like university essays. If in other video authors, each sentence gives rise to a humorous staging, this is not the tone of this channel, where the desire to make the explanations as clear as possible is stronger than the desire to ‘laugh about it.

The tone of TV, Internet freedom

On a platform where soliciting is often tiresome, Cinema and politics thus brings originality and freshness. The channel chooses to go against the grain to develop serious and in-depth content, pleasant to watch, far from the standards of successful videos on the Internet. Its creator does not derive any income from it and carries the project alone, in addition to a person who helps him with the sound mixing.

Looking for a job in the audiovisual industry, this film enthusiast began to shoot her videos to share her curiosities, and why not make a living from them. After being a finalist in a competition for female creators, she is now trying to be funded by the National Cinema Center (CNC), which helps a few young talents to get into the field.

From the history of cinema to the still current debates

With a certain tropism for the Italian cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly political, the 30-something wants to show moviegoers how, beyond entertainment, a film can convey a more or less explicit message. The subjects treated or mentioned by the works in question were controversial when they were released and resonate with today’s news: the blackface, the stigmatization of immigrants, social revolt, etc.

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This is the case of The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo. Released in 1966, while the trauma of the Algerian war is still present in everyone’s mind, the film traces the course of events with disconcerting realism and crudeness. To treat the subject while recalling its context, the videographer invokes the writings of Frantz Fanon on decolonization and violence, omnipresent in the film.

The Black Panthers in the United States or the IRA in Ireland have reappropriated the film. But it would be simplistic to consider his message unambiguous. The Battle of Algiers was also shown to soldiers to justify the methods used by the army.

In the videos of Cinema and Politics, each written in several weeks and at the end of long research, the cinematographic analysis is made available to the general public while preserving the nuances. It is not a question of right-wing or left-wing films, but rather of objects which are the fruit of their time and of the relationship that their directors maintained with their environment, of what they wanted to transmit and of what was retained, sometimes in spite of themselves.


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