Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Marxism Today

Phil Collins: Marxism Today
Abandon Normal Devices (AND)
Cornerhouse, Manchester
02 October - 20 November
Phil Collins shines a light on what is generally perceived as the losing side in the political and social upheavals of the past two decades. The film shows contemporary interviews with ex-teachers, specialising in Marxist-Leninist ideals in the former Communist East Germany.These interviews are combined with archival material creating an interesting introduction to the topic. My interest in Germany is constantly evolving, especially Berlin and it's rich history and after spending a lot of the summer there, I felt this was an exhibition for me. I found the screening very emotional and insightful, it is one thing to learn about the history of place by reading a list of facts, but when exposed to a series of emotions and personal experiences, I felt I could really start to put my knowledge into context and understand what it was really like during that time. There were beautifully sensitive examples of archival material combined with the harsh documentary style of the interviews. A real sense of time came through with the screening. Hearing the teachers talk in retrospect about the end of communism and the possibility of becoming rich, there seemed to be split opinions referring to the pros and cons of the party. In one way there was an opportunity to become rich, but in another way some people felt that now they were doing things purely for material gain, rather than for themselves. In the next room a screening of a modern classroom brings the central concepts of Marxist economic analysis to the new generation of students, whose questions are very insightful and thought provoking. This topic is something I am very interested in and as a delve further into the social/ political impact of Photo Montage, this could be something I revisit.

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