The Liverpool Film Seminar, a collaboration between the Departments of Film Studies at Liverpool John Moores University and Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool, is now in its eighth year.
Professor James Donald (University of New South Wales) will present a talk entitled Native Land: Documentary, Modernism, Populism.
Native Land (1942) is a film that was very much of its time, but one that missed its moment. It was a product of the American Left during the New Deal/Popular Front era, but it was not completed until after the Hitler-Stalin pact and America's entry into World War Two. To get across its message about the repression of trade union organisation, it combines newsreel material by the Workers Film and Photo League and original documentary footage with didactic fictional reenactments by professional actors. Among those involved in its production were Paul Strand, one of the twentieth century's great still photographers, the director and theorist Leo Hurwitz, and, as narrator, the singer and activist Paul Robeson. Native Land captures a unique historical moment that takes on a new resonance in an era of renewed populism on both right and left.
About Professor Donald
James Donald is Emeritus Professor of Film at UNSW Australia and Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool. He is author of Some of These Days: Black Stars, Jazz Aesthetics, and Modernist Culture (2015), Imagining the Modern City (1999), and Sentimental Education (1992), and editor of thirteen volumes, including Fantasy and the Cinema (1989), Close Up: Cinema and Modernism (2000) and The SAGE Handbook of Film Studies (2008). He was editor of Screen Education in the late 1970s, and founding editor of New Formations. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
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