Voices of Protest

Voices of Protest

19 Episodes

Power to the people! From labor organizing to armed uprising to the struggle for rights at the ballot box, cinema has long proved a powerful tool for documenting, dramatizing, and enacting political change from the grassroots up. The films collected here bear witness to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, recount the lives of activist icons like Paul Robeson and Harvey Milk, and show ordinary people rising up in the factories of Turin, the banlieus of Paris, the coal mines of Kentucky, and the streets of Algiers. Featuring work by Agnès Varda, Jean-Pierre Melville, Barbara Kopple, and Sergei Eisenstein, this incendiary series pays tribute to those who’ve stood up and fought back in the hope of creating a better world.

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Voices of Protest
  • Strike

    Episode 1

    Directed by Sergei Eisenstein • 1925 • Soviet Union

    Sergei Eisenstein's feature film debut, 'Strike' details the violent uprising in 1903 by factory workers in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Known widely as one of the founding films of soviet realism and the montage techniques Eisenstein would beco...

  • Redes

    Episode 2

    Directed by Emilio Gómez Muriel and Fred Zinnemann • 1936 • Mexico

    Early in his career, the Austrian-born future Oscar winner Fred Zinnemann codirected with Emilio Gómez Muriel the politically and emotionally searing REDES. In this vivid, documentary-like dramatization of the daily grind of me...

  • Le silence de la mer

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville • 1949 • France
    Starring Howard Vernon, Nicole Stéphane, Jean-Marie Robain

    Jean-Pierre Melville began his superb feature filmmaking career with this powerful adaptation of an influential underground novel written during the Nazi occupation of France. A cultured, ...

  • Ikiru

    Episode 4

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa • 1952 • Japan
    Starring Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Kyoko Seki

    One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, IKIRU shows the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an exploration of death. Takashi Shimura beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe,...

  • Ashes and Diamonds

    Episode 5

    Directed by Andrzej Wajda • 1958 • Poland

    On the last day of World War II in a small town somewhere in Poland, Polish exiles of war and the occupying Soviet forces confront the beginning of a new day and a new Poland. In this incendiary environment we find Home Army soldier Maciek Chelmicki, who...

  • Youth in Fury

    Episode 6

    Directed by Masahiro Shinoda • 1960 • Japan

    An alienated young man flirts with extremism during a major student protest. Directed by Masahiro Shinoda.

  • The Children Were Watching

    Episode 7

    Directed by Robert Drew and Richard Leacock • 1961 • United States

    In this Drew Associates classic, Richard Leacock photographs the first week of school integration in November 1960 in New Orleans. As black students enter their new schools under the escort of U.S. Marshals, their classmates’ whi...

  • Crisis

    Episode 8

    Directed by Robert Drew • 1963 • United States

    CRISIS: BEHIND A PRESIDENTIAL COMMITMENT provided filmmaker Robert Drew, his crew and his audience the rare opportunity to watch a President of the United States deal with a national crisis. In this case, the crisis of the title was the attempted in...

  • The Organizer

    Episode 9

    Directed by Mario Monicelli • 1963 • France, Yugoslavia, Italy
    Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot

    In turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin, an accident in a textile factory incites workers to stage a walkout. But it’s not until they receive unexpected aid from a travel...

  • Women of the Resistance

    Episode 10

    Directed by Liliana Cavani • 1965 • Italy

    Made for Italian television, this powerful documentary by iconoclastic auteur Liliana Cavani profiles a number of women who participated in the Italian Resistance and survived the German invasion of Italy during World War II. Cited by Cavani as the inspi...

  • The Battle of Algiers

    Episode 11

    Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo • 1966 • Algeria, Italy
    Starring Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef

    One of the most influential political films in history, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the o...

  • The Olympics in Mexico

    Episode 12

    Directed by Alberto Isaac • 1969 • Mexico

    Mexican former Olympic swimmer Alberto Isaac's record of the Mexico City Olympic Games is a celebration not of national achievement (very few national anthems are heard during the film), but of individual heroism. This thoughtful and comprehensive film b...

  • Z
    Episode 13


    Episode 13

    Directed by Costa-Gavras • 1969 • Algeria, France
    Starring Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Irene Papas

    A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from t...

  • Black Panthers

    Episode 14

    Directed by Agnès Varda • 1970 • United States

    Agnès Varda turns her camera on an Oakland demonstration against the imprisonment of activist and Black Panthers cofounder Huey P. Newton. In addition to evincing Varda’s fascination with her adopted surroundings and her empathy, this perceptive sho...

  • Hearts and Minds

    Episode 15

    Directed by Peter Davis • 1974 • United States

    A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary HEARTS AND MINDS unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy that surrounded it. Using a wealth of sources—from intervie...

  • Harlan County USA

    Episode 16

    Directed by Barbara Kopple • 1976 • United States

    Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award-winning HARLAN COUNTY USA unflinchingly documents a grueling coal miners’ strike in a small Kentucky town. With unprecedented access, Kopple and her crew captured the miners’ sometimes violent struggles with strikeb...

  • One Sings, the Other Doesn't

    Episode 17

    Directed by Agnès Varda • 1977 • France
    Starring Valérie Mairesse, Thérèse Liotard, Ali Raffi

    In the early 1960s in Paris, two young women become friends. Pomme is an aspiring singer. Suzanne is a pregnant country girl unable to support a third child. Pomme lends Suzanne the money for an illegal...

  • Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist

    Episode 18

    Directed by Saul J. Turell • 1979 • United States

    Saul J. Turell's Academy Award-winning documentary short Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist, narrated by Sidney Poitier, traces his career through his activism and his socially charged performances of his signature song, "Ol' Man River."

  • La haine

    Episode 19

    Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz • 1995 • France
    Starring Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui

    Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with LA HAINE, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-in...