In the 1960s, filmmaking in Cuba exploded like never before and probably not since. Fueled by the Cuban Revolution and funded by the government-sponsored ICAIC, there was an explosion of films that critically engaged the politics of the time. Forty-nine years ago, Santiago Alvarez produced one of the best-known Cuban films form this period: Now! (1965).
Appropriating found news footage and still photographs of civil rights rallies in the United States and the police’s response to these protests, the film rallies its viewer to take action and demonstrate against social injustice and physical violence at the hands of the state.
In the style of Alvarez’s Now!, Alex Johnson recently made diptych using Alvarez’s original work and footage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri from earlier this summer.
As with Alvarez, Johnson showcases the forceful response the police had in Missouri as a means to incite the viewer to protest social injustice and physical violence.
Add Wednesday’s decision of a Richmond County jury to not indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner earlier this year, and everything about Alvarez’s forty-nine year-old film Now! is again frustratingly current.