Oct. 9, 2020
PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME TWO
Welcome back to the PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST! This week, we’re pushing forward two Spanish language films that touch on themes of institutional violence, displacement, and repression. Our suggested reading this week explores how political manipulation influences the institutions that shape our daily lives.
SONG WITHOUT A NAME
Directed by Melina León, 2019 [not-rated]
The feature-length debut of Peruvian writer-director Melina Leon, SONG WITHOUT A NAME concerns Georgina, a young Andean woman whose newborn baby is stolen from the clinic where she’s just given birth. When the clinic disappears as well, Georgina takes her story to a local journalist, whose search for answers uncovers a web of silent judges, faceless government employees, and unbothered airline officials. Beautifully shot, and set against the political unrest in 1980s Peru, Song Without a Name lays bare the divide between the deep human suffering inflicted by corrupt institutions and the marginal shifts in policy we celebrate as progress. How many lives are trampled before meaningful change can happen?
Watch on FILM MOVEMENT
I’M NO LONGER HERE
Directed by Fernando Frías, 2019 [not-rated]
I’M NO LONGER HERE follows Ulises, the 17-year-old leader of a small gang in Monterrey, Mexico. He and his friends are Kolombianos, a local term for young folks who listen to slowed down Cumbia music, host dances with massive attendance, and sport some of the best hairstyles ever put to film. When Ulises is smuggled out of Monterrey and moves to New York for his safety, following a misunderstanding with a local gang, he is left to fend for himself in a world that is not his own.
Watch on NETFLIX
WHO GETS TO VOTE IN FLORIDA?
The current state-based, winner-take-all format of the Electoral College creates a reality in which only a couple of “battleground” states affect the outcome of national elections – a situation vulnerable to manipulation through targeted voter suppression. In his recent piece, The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkin details how the GOP used Jim Crow-era laws banning felons from voting in Florida to seal the 2000 national election for George W. Bush, and how Republican officials are currently working to ensure the continued suppression of Florida voters, despite popular support among Floridians for changing the rules. Be warned – this article might make you very, very angry.
ERASURE OF DHS RECORDS
The Intercept’s Alice Speri covers the recent push by the Department of Homeland Security to designate as “temporary” a host of internal records of abuse committed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents — a change that would allow for their destruction in as few as four years. This obfuscation of institutional abuse is especially concerning given that CBP is the country’s largest law enforcement agency, with 44,000 agents and a budget of $17 billion. Speaking with immigrant advocates, historians, and scholars, Speri drives home that what’s at stake is the ability of future generations to reckon with and make right potential criminal abuses carried out by an agency already operating in the shadows.
MINORITY RULE AND THE SUPREME COURT
It is almost certain that Amy Coney Barrett will become the fifth Supreme Court Justice appointed by a president who lost the popular vote in a national election. Especially egregious, her confirmation rests in the hands of a Senate controlled by Republicans, who gained two seats in 2018 even as Democratic candidates received 12 million more votes. Minority rule is alive and well in the United States, and it will allow the Republican party to create a 6 – 3 supermajority on the highest court in the land. Law professor Nicholas Bagley explores how that majority could be used to obstruct Democrats in office for years to come, using a recent example in Michigan.
FALL FILM FEST 2020 V02 PLAYLIST
PROXY founder Douglas Burnham put together this week’s playlist to foster the mutual resilience we will need to make it through these next few weeks. Listen and reach out to each other!
FLORIDA RIGHTS RESTORATION
In the 2018 midterm elections, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow people with former felony convictions to vote. Six months later, the Republican legislature passed a bill requiring former felons to pay all outstanding fees related to their convictions before voting, effectively disenfranchising over 750,000 Floridians, about half of whom are Black. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is working to correct this. You can support their efforts to pay down these fees here, and keep an eye on ways to support the fight against these poll taxes in the future.
John McNeil Studio’s interactive installation, STAMP OUT, is now up at PROXY and throughout the city. Buy some stamps to support the USPS, and add them to the murals and posters to literally stamp out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism in the highest levels of the government.
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.