“Just a revolutionary song”: this became its slogan/synopsis well before the Picture Book by Jean Luc Godard was completed and has not changed since. In the symbolic field, what can be more effective than a song if we are in a revolutionary sate? We have chosen a number of films to witness the diversity of the modes of appearance, the presence and generally the modes and the tropes pertaining to the presentation of revolutionary songs in cinema. First the genetic films, reflecting on the birth and the itinerary of the songs: a crucial manual for this genre Joe Hill (Bo Widerberg, 1981); a majestic militant essay The Cry of Jazz (Edward O. Bland, 1959), experimental sound researches conducted by Colette Magny in the course of her itinerary as resumed by Yves-Marie Mahé, a humble work of an exiled militant narrated in My Weapon (Thierry Naikuriyo, 2018).
Then the activists films, raising their song in the moment of the fight, as a visual equivalent of their music: Len Lye has focused his experimental visual research on a song which metaphorically talks about the anxiety of a black slave escaping lunching (Color Cry, 1953); the dangerous melancholy of the International played under the dictatorship in Brazil in Acorde Maior (José Inacio Parente, 1984); a collaborative work between the film maker and the workers on strike Which side are you on? (Ken Loach, 1985); calls for insurrection My Projects are Going to Crack (Jean Francois Richet, 1997), which is under the inspiration of 1793 Constitution, the most revolutionary of all.
Finally the films inspired by percussions, which transform commemoration to prospection, a mythopoetic echo of past cries which aim to pass them to the future, praying that it creates its own time: thus the aptly called A Song from the Fu- ture (Tommaso Donati, 2017), an overview of the songs of the Carnation revolution sparked off by «Grândola Vila Morena» is encapsulated in 25 Canções de Abril (Luís Gaspar, 1977), extended to Instruções para um grito permanente created by João Tabarra especially for the 9th Avant Garde Athens Film festival, and whom we thank with all our heart. The song of revolution irrigates cinema in all its forms, allowing it to antagonize it with its energizing genius.
Nicole Brenez (Translated by Maria Komninos) Special thanks to Lucas Murari and to Lucas Parente