BREAKING: filmlinc blog receives manifesto from “Citizens Against Licentious Movies”

This morning, the filmlinc blog received the following anonymous handwritten “manifesto” from a group calling itself Citizens Against Licentious Cinema (C.A.L.M.), in regards to our new series Clandestí: Forbidden Catalan Cinema Under Franco . For the benefit of our readers, we have transcribed the communique in its entirety.

It has come to our attention that the Film Society has a series planned called “Clandestí: Forbidden Catalan Films Under Franco” and that certain inflammatory facts have been circulating pertaining to the so-called “underground cinema” of Catalan. In order that the public not be unnecessarily exposed to these incendiary filmic documents without first being warned, we felt it necessary to set the record straight.

So-called “fact” #1: Throughout its history, Catalonia – and particularly Barcelona – has been persistently characterized as the forerunner of major social and cultural movements.

Why not praise the Netherlands for their wooden clogs or France for their crepes? We all know that Catalonia was uniquely situated to be a well-spring of filmic innovation, especially in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. But all of this is neither here nor there to the average movie-goer, who’s looking for something diverting at the local multiplex. We feel that putting together a series of extremely controversial Catalonia films in one program—Clandesti—the Film Society is clearly flirting with disaster. How about a nice Shirley Temple retrospective instead?

So-called “fact” #2: While the filmmakers of Catolonia under Franco differed in their aims (some chased artistic ambitions while others had revolutionary goals) all shared a focus on reality. Exposing the reality of injustice under Franco’s rule, or injustice on the world stage, was their most subversive message.

Now this is just too much. Everyone knows reality is depressing. The last thing we need is a new lens on truth. What we need more of are escapist fantasies where the bad guys blow up a few buildings and then the good guy wins.

So-called “fact” #3: The birth of the term “underground cinema” was founded in the filmmaking of Catalonia under Franco.

With the complete adoption of portable video equipment, surely the idea of an “independent cinema” has become completely banal. Even Steven Soderbergh and Christopher Nolan are making studio pictures now. Who needs to see another hand-crafted film, made by a passionate outsider, under the most stringent (and possibly deadly) government control? Especially when there are fine reality shows featuring rich housewives and feature films about adorably plucky Labrador puppies?

We urge the film-going public to “just say no” to the obscene, provocative, dangerous series Clandesti and please instead spend your money on something more morally wholesome.



The package came from a Century City address. Anyone have any ideas about this group C.A.L.M.?

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One Comment on “BREAKING: filmlinc blog receives manifesto from “Citizens Against Licentious Movies””

    Okay, listen, C.A.L.M. You’d be better off calling yourselves the C.L.A.M.: Citizens Lacking Actual Minds.
    This is Marta Sanchez, founder of and co-curator along with Manuel Barrios of the Clandestí retrospective of Forbidden Catalan Cinema, which opens TOMORROW, and I’m here to set the record straight, although the blathering nonsense hardly deserves a response – you know times are changing when America’s far-right have gone underground.

    Since Manuel is in a plane in his way to NY, I thought I’d share a little more about some of the films we’re showing with Clandestí, for those of who aren’t crowding the box offices of Hannah Montana: The Movie.

    Many of the films we will be showing are in the U.S. for the first time, even though most were made more than three decades ago. These films were made in utmost secrecy when Franco turned the Spanish film industry into his propaganda machine. Extreme measures were routinely taken: Far from the Trees was shot on weekends over the course of many years, and El Sopar’s small cast and crew were notified of a shooting location at the last possible second. The Aixelà film school where many of these directors gained technical training was held in secret in the back of a photo shop. Being caught with a camera and no permit could mean certain imprisoment and torture.

    In order to protect their identities, most of these artists developed aliases, which has made the process of historical investigation a difficult one. All the same, the films remain among the most first-hand documents of the end of the dictatorship, and offer an intimate glimpse into the social issues affecting Spanish citizens at the time. (If the member of C.L.A.M is still reading, this would be the equivalent of discovering a long-lost behind-the-scenes documentary about the hair and makeup team of American Idol).

    C.L.A.M was right about one thing: these are among the most provocative, most scandalous, and most tantalizing movies you’ll ever see. And they’re not for the weak-hearted. But if you’re curious whether or not you can take it, you can always take a sneak peek and see some previews See you tomorrow at the opening!

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