The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

CULTURE

May ’68 Protests, a weekend of screenings and debates in Leiden

The 10th edition of LISFE in Leiden will be focused this year on the 50th anniversary of May '68 events



By Cecilia Terenzoni

 

LISFE (Leiden International Short Film Experience) is an annual short film festival in the city of Leiden run by a team of international students. For its 10th edition, it will take place from the 11th to the 13th on May at the cinema Kijkhuis, Leiden. LISFE, as a non-profit association, promotes a wider experience of cinema outside teathers through  wide range of short films and other forms of visual arts such as video installations or live performances.

This year, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of May ’68 Protests, the festival will host two special speakers to give to its audience an overview about what happened on the cultural front during May ‘68, and an new focus on the social uprisings in the Netherlands within the ’68 world protest. Both talks will take place in café/cultural space ‘Old School’.

“Fire the last time” – Saturday 12th at 17.00

For over a decade, Jeffrey Babcock, an American filmmaker who immigrated to Amsterdam in the 1980s, has been hosting film screenings scattered across various venues in the Dutch capital. This “nomadic cinema”, as Babcock describes it, strives to rejuvenate the forgotten political and social aspirations of cinema, as well as evoking a fading counterculture spirit anchored in squatting and collective living.

“Fire the last time” is his hour-long visual lecture based on the new book Cine-Bulletins, which seeks to unpack the common misperception of “Mai ‘68” as a short-lived student riot. The sixties saw uprisings flare around the world, and it was in France where it reached its climax. A general nation-wide unrest exploded into a social experiment that most would consider unimaginable today.

Emblematic snapshots of students at the barricades are reprinted often enough in glossy magazines. Event focal point will be instead on neglected events such as factory occupations and action-committees. And, not least, the birth of a cultural revolution that created new forms of communication.

History is always distorted by the winners and that’s also depicted on how the events of 1968 were framed in mass media. 

“1968 in 1966? Antiauthoritatian revolt in Dutch society in the nineteensixties” – Sunday 13th at 15:00

An hour-long talk about Provo and other political and social uprisings in The Netherlands within the ‘68 world protest. Provo movement, active in Amsterdam between 1965 and 1967, was incited by anarchist groups that recognized alienation and boredom as powerful energies that can be harnessed to spark social change. A Dutch sociologist originally coined the term “Provo” to negatively denote the surge of disaffected Dutch teenagers who provoked authorities in the postwar period.

The Provos staged theatrical and provocative “pranks” and happenings that combined nonviolent public actions and absurd humor.

They represented a period of revolt in Dutch society in which students occupied faculties, workers went on strike, artists challenged established institutions, to name a few examples of widespread antiauthoritarian revolt. Peter Storm, anarchist and blogger on ravotr.nl, will try to tell some of their stories, provide some background and point to the relevance of those struggles.






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