What does radical film mean today? All cinematic forms, styles and intentions are capable of taking on a radical character. There are no concrete modes of distribution or exhibition that are exclusively radical – at least theoretically. What makes a film radical today, as Third Cinema proposed fifty years ago, is a particular way of approaching reality that, because of it, provokes a reaction on the part of the audiences. If one thinks of radical films as a ‘pedagogy for the oppressed’ in Paulo Freire’s famous articulation, they should be films that “must be forged with, not for, the oppressed (whether individuals or peoples) in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity”. This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation.
Humberto Pérez-Blanco is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. He is Co-editor of A Trail of Fire for Political Cinema. The Hour of the Furnaces Fifty Years Later and Founding member of the Bristol Radical Film Festival.