WHERE’S THE LINE? When a reality TV villain wins the presidency, and news reads like dystopian science fiction, the line between fiction and reality gets blurry. And when—and if—we manage to unplug, entertainment gets dicey: Is it okay to enjoy HBO’s soap operas while the world goes to shit? Where’s the line between letting ourselves engage with art and forcing ourselves to pay attention to the real world?
The truth, of course, is that there is no line—art feeds on reality, and reality is affected by art. Which brings us to the Hollywood Theatre’s timely film series Rebellion & Revolution: Insurgent Cinema. Kicking off with 1973’s The Spook Who Sat by the Door—in which Lawrence Cook plays a black nationalist who uses his knowledge of the CIA to train freedom fighters—Rebellion & Revolution offers a handful of films that have, of late, gained added relevance, like the 1966 Italian neorealist saga The Battle of Algiers, with its focus on guerrilla warfare; Hate, or La Haine (1995), which, in the aftermath of Parisian riots, examines the cruel intersections of race, class, and violence; and 1976’s blaxploitation flick Brotherhood of Death, in which three black Vietnam vets return to America to fight the Ku Klux Klan.
Those are all fine selections, but there are plenty of other films that could fit just as well in a series like this—better dramas, harsher documentaries, and funnier comedies that not only entertain, but also serve as ideological Molotov cocktails. The Rebellion & Revolution series is slated to run through January, but that timeline could easily be extended. Four years should just about do it.