pigThough his name is hardly spoken these days, Emile de Antonio was the Cold War's predecessor to Michael Moore. Political (a committed Marxist), principled, and utterly unafraid, de Antonio was "determined to challenge the conventions of bourgeois society," and his film were he means of confrontation.

As abrasive as he was talented, de Antonio made documentaries that explored the America in which he lived. He examined topics from the Army-McCarthy hearings to JFK's assassination; from the Weather Underground to Eugene McCarthy. In 1968's The Year of Pig, he praised the patriotism and leadership of Ho Chi Minh while using newsreel footage and interviews to condemn the Vietnam War. Six years later, the anti-Vietnam film Hearts and Minds trod similar ground (albeit without the Minhsympathies) and won the Oscar for best documentary.

Starting September 10 and running through the end of the month, the Harvard Film Archive will present a nine-film de Antonio retrospective. Since his work is unavailable in the US on DVD (some are on VHS), this is a rare chance to see the films of a master, and to give today's political documentarians some much-needed context.
categories Movies, Cinematical