Popular Front militant films on DVD

"Grèves d'occupation" (Occupation strikes) (collective, 1936) - collection Ciné-Archives

In its early days, the Popular Front, a workers' movement, set up film production and distribution facilities to deliver its ideas to the masses. The French communist party (PCF) and the general workers' confederation (CGT) relied heavily on the Ciné-Liberté cooperative to produce and privately screen militant films that were banned from public moviehouses. For the first time ever, this filmography is now available on DVD. 

The 16 films in this DVD collection demonstrate the diversity of the filmography of communist movements in the 1930s. Fictional, documentary and news clips are featured as the B-side for La Vie est à nous (Life is Ours), a joint work directed by Jean Renoir for the 1936 legislative elections.

Ever since the mid-1930s, the PCF and CGT have seized on cinema as the ultimate mass media. An influx of members in the spring of 1936 brought them additional funds, as well as a pool of film professionals. It was in this environment that Ciné-Liberté was created, a film production and distribution cooperative bucking the mainstream commercial circuit. It was soon joined by far-left film makers and a large number of technicians who were members of the PCF and CGT.

The militant origin of these films is evident in the credits: anonymous and collective, they only refer to the militant entity that produced them.

The Popular Front's images have indelibly marked the collective memory. Indeed, 80 years on, the strikers' zest for life shines though on-screen and speaks volumes.

This DVD is published by Ciné-Archives, a member of INEDITS.

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