Hollywood producing less inspring films

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 14 04:58:36 MST 2002

(Anyone looking for excuses NOT
to support the anti-war movement,
such as my former comrades in the
US Socialist Workers Party, or
groups like the Spartacists and
similar familiar-sounding types,
won't be comforted by what Harry
Belafonte and Danny Glover told
Granma newspaper here in Cuba.

(Of course, for sectarian types
reality is only ONE of the factors
which must be taken into their
considerations, and not normally
the most important of the factors)

December 13,  2002

Hollywood is producing
less inspiring films
Actors Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover in Havana . U.S.
and Latin American cinema compared . Clear anti-war position
-Granma International staff writer-

WHEN two well-known actors like Danny Glover and Harry
Belafonte are in front of you, the natural expectation is to
talk about films, but these two double as social activists.
Good actors they may be, but they also know that everything
is powerfully linked.

Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, both social activists, at
a press conference at Havana's Nacional Hotel.

Glover has come to the Havana Film Festival on two previous
occasions; he told the press that it was a wonderful
opportunity to make immediate contact with Cubans, their
culture, music and art, highlighting the truly exceptional
opening of Manuel Mendive's latest exhibition at the
capital's Fine Arts Museum.

The actor explained that here in Havana, he had understood
the need for independent filmmaking, the beauty of Latin
American cinema, and the possibility of people beginning to
unite to relate the "universality of stories that there are
to tell." To do this, he suggested we must find ways to help
these efforts because "we can't wait for Hollywood to open
its doors to us," we have to discover how to tell these
stories and get them distributed.

His friend Belafonte however has only "missed four out of 24
festivals." He confessed that the first time he came it was
out of "curiosity and fascination," wondering how Cubans had
managed to organize a festival and was moved by "the
seriousness, cinematic level and intense debates." Now he
returns "out of a sense of duty, but with the expectation of
learning something more every time."

Referring to art, the famous actor/singer commented that
U.S. festivals were like stepping back to "the dinosaur age"
; for him Hollywood produces "films that educate and inspire
less and less." In comparison, Belafonte has found the
"highest movie-making standards at festivals in Havana,
Cartagena and Brazil, where cinema is an art showing more
sensitivity than just aiming at the market."


In reply to a question on the recent Artists Manifesto
against the war on Iraq, Glover answered that one of the
document's main protagonists is Mia Farrow, and that he
himself had signed it. He explained that it concerns
artists, filmmakers and writers opposed to so-called
preemptive strikes who call themselves 'Not in Our Name'.

"My position on the war is very clear, above all for the
impact that it will have on women and children in Iraq who
are already suffering the consequences of sanctions."

Glover assured that there is a growing anti-war movement in
the United States that includes trade unions, universities
and community groups, "in a battle that will continue until
our anti-war voices are heard."

In support of this idea, Belafonte stressed that in his
opinion, Bush's government is maintaining a policy "that
doesn't identify with the interests of the U.S. people," but
that the September 11 events: "that sowed fear in their
hearts" served the administration "to extend its
imperialist, economic and political domination all over the

Belafonte observed that Bush's government has mobilized all
the media into a pro-war propaganda campaign. He
specifically referred to CNN - which he called the War
Channel, remarking that if at one time it was a responsible
network then that was no longer the case - Fox News, plus
Rupert Murdoch's group.

He paused to mention cinema's effectiveness in this type of
propaganda, recalling what happened with films during the
Second World War and how "today we find the same mechanisms"
with seven corporations owning agencies, the press and the

"Many of my friends are journalists," added Belafonte, "and
they tell me that there has never been as much censorship as
now, and if they rebel then they will just lose their jobs.

"There are many reporters in Afghanistan, the Middle East
and Colombia but censorship comes from the Pentagon, the
National Security Agency, the Bush administration. The U.S.
people don't know the truth," the reason why there is an
urgent need to denounce such acts.

Nevertheless, the most promising sign for Belafonte is the
growing awareness of this problem in the United States and
that many people are beginning to raise their voices against
that policy.

He believes that "the U.S. people are receiving support from
millions of people all over the world in this struggle" and
mentioned the situation in Argentina, Colombia ("where Colin
Powell arrived with a huge sum of dollars to aid government
violence"), the Caribbean states, (that are vigorously
speaking out against this policy), Mexico and young

Resistance exists, and when the press refuses to inform then
we have take every opportunity to tell the truth,"
pronounced Harry Belafonte.

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