Movie of the Week #4
(Santiago Alvarez; 1965)
Using morgue photos, newsreel footage, and an amazing (if slightly over-arranged) recording by Lena Horne, Cuban filmmaker Santiago Alvarez fired off Now!, one of the most powerful bursts of propaganda rendered in the 1960s. Not intended as a work of great subtlety, Alvarez wields other people's images with perhaps more artistry than those who created them, and builds a remarkable piece of rhetorical cinema in the process. It's target -- the then-current racial conflagration in the United States -- is an easy one. But it is perhaps this very fact that most fuels the scorn and rage in the marrow of this film. If there was any room for nuance, he might have gone a little easier.
Now! is strident, yes; but breathtaking.