How to Start a Revolution (2011). Dir: Ruaridh Arrow. Call Number: LD13-0531
Just Do It: A Tale of Modern-Day Outlaws (2011). Dir: Emily James. Call Number: LD13-0533
Image: Courtesy of How to Start a Revolution
How to Start a Revolution celebrates the ideas and influence of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Gene Sharp, whose work on nonviolent revolution has provided popular uprisings all over the world with concrete methods to protest without resorting to violent means. Scottish director Ruaridh Arrow includes interviews with a number of people whose lives and struggles have been profoundly influenced by the work of Dr. Sharp, including Srdja Popovic, leader of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Otpor! and Ahmed Maher, leader of April 6 Youth Movement from Egypt.
Released the day after the first Occupy protests on Wall Street in New York in September 2011, How to Start a Revolution became the unofficial film of the Occupy movement. The documentary highlights a number of the 198 methods of nonviolent protest described in Dr. Sharp’s The Politics of Nonviolent Action, including displays of flags and symbolic colours, consumer boycotts and mock elections and funerals. Described by the Huffington Post as “a vital conversation starter and educational tool for a world awash in violence" (Siegel, 2011), How to Start a Revolution serves as a timely and poignant reminder of the power of people to instigate change through nonviolent means.
Image: Courtesy of Left Field Films
Dr. Sharp’s ideas are put into practice in the documentary Just Do It: A Tale of Modern-Day Outlaws, which profiles with a number of individuals involved in nonviolent direct-action campaigns across the UK. Filmmaker Emily James spent a year tracking the activists involved with such campaigns, providing an inside eye into protest planning, coordination and execution. Amongst the climate change activists we meet are Marina, who believes in the transformative power of a good cup of tea, and Sally, a Cambridge University student who doesn't just read theories of civil disobedience but puts them into action. Just Do It has been described as a “smart, adrenalized portrait of 21st-century activism” (Leigh, 2011) and offers the promise that with a bit of planning and a commitment to the cause, change is possible.
Leigh, Danny. (17 June 2011). The Best of Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011. Guardian.co.uk.
Sharp, Gene. (1973). The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Boston, MA: Porter Sargent.
Siegel, Dan. (19 October 2011). Film Review: How to Start a Revolution. Huffington Post.
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