by Sarah Allan
It’s November in Vancouver, and true to form it’s grey and rainy. While some lament about being unable to tell the difference between 4AM and 4PM, I consider the months of the West Coast’s second season the perfect time to watch movies movies and more movies! Luckily, Amnesty International just held its annual Film Festival, with 3 days of documentaries that centre around the common theme of human rights. My friend and ‘Pass it to the Left’ co-admin Tracy accompanied me to the opening film, ‘Cultures of Resistance’. It was a 90-minute-or-so whirlwind tour of resistance and social movements from all around the world, with a focus on music, dance, art and other expressions of culture as tools and as reflections of these movements. The film was directed by Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, who is described as an activist and filmmaker, and who is the founder of the Caipirinha Foundation, “an organization that promotes global solidarity and supports peace with justice projects.”
It was rad to see art and specifically music, which has been so commercialized in North America, be such an integral part of grassroots movements for change, and in nation-building following wars and revolutions. Music created and produced with goals in mind other than ridiculous profits, fame and fortune. My feeling after the film was that art and music tell stories, and stories inspire action in others and create solidarity. Whether you know a lot about global human rights issues or know nothing at all, this film offers a good survey that shares perspectives in an accessible (if not sometimes graphic) way. Check out the website for the film and the trailer below, and somehow find a way to watch it, it’s worth your time… oh and hip hop is most definitely NOT dead.