The Portland Friends Meeting, a Quaker group, is sponsoring an eight-week film series on nonviolence to help local activists learn what worked and what didn't in past peace movements. The Phoenix caught up with this festival a little late (there have already been two screenings) but, don't worry, there are still six more full length documentaries to enjoy and learn from. What's that? You don't like to start late? Well, our moms always took us to movies at least 20 minutes after they started and we always managed to catch on to the plot eventually - so quit your complaining or we won't buy you any Sour Patch Kids.
The screenings are free and are located at the Friends Meetinghouseat 1837 Forest Avenue in Portland between the turnpike overpass and Tortilla Flat. The movie will be shown and then participants will discuss the tactics used by the non-violent protesters in the film. This is the plan. Jessica Eller, co-director of Peace Action Maine and co-coordinator of the "Unknown History of Active Nonviolence" series, as it's called, says between 40 and 50 people have followed the plan at the previous two screenings.
Below is a schedule of the upcoming films, care of Portland Friends. And, here's some Sour Patch kids. Maybe we wrote a little too harshly in the first paragraph. And maybe we shouldn't have made you feel like it's your fault we were late to the movie series, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. We feel badly. We do. So, fine. Here.
THE UNKNOWN HISTORY OF ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE SERIES
March 16: People Power: The Philippine Experience – how unarmed resistance from 1983-86 led to the overthrow of the brutal, decades-long Marcos dictatorship. Includes real-time footage from Filipino, US, and foreign news agencies.
March 23: Bringing Down a Dictator - how the carefully planned, step-by-step, nonviolent actions of Serbia’s student-led Otpor (Resistance) movement of 2000-2001 ousted the brutal Milosevic dictatorship.
March 30: Long Night’s Journey Into Day - how South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission dealt with atrocities committed under apartheid, including moving testimony by both black and white victims and perpetrators.
April 13: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - a British-made film about the attempted coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that was defeated by an uprising of millions of unarmed Venezuelans. Sheds light on current hostility between the Bush administration and the Chavez government.
April 20: Weapons of the Spirit - amazing, moving story documented by Holocaust survivor Pierre Sauvage about Le Chambon, the French Huguenot village of 5000 inhabitants that successfully hid about 5000 Jews during the Nazi occupation of France.
April 27: The Historic Emergence of Nonviolent Struggle - a brilliant, 1990 Harvard lecture by Gene Sharp, the world’s pre-eminent chronicler and analyst of nonviolent struggle. Covers common misconceptions about active nonviolence. An excellent summation.