Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi, A 50 Year Argument rides the waves of literary, political, and cultural history as charted by the The New York Review of Books, America’s leading journal of ideas for over 50 years. Provocative, idiosyncratic and incendiary, the film weaves rarely seen archival material, contributor interviews, excerpts from writings by such icons as James Baldwin, Gore Vidal, and Joan Didion along with original verité footage filmed in the Review’s West Village offices. Confrontation and original argument are in the Review’s DNA – the magazine seems as vital now as when it was run by its indefatigable founding editors, Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein. Co-produced with the BBC’s award-winning Arena and shaped by Scorcese’s vivid filmmaking style, The Fifty Year Argument captures the power of ideas in influencing history.
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When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
During the time of the Stolen Generations, thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal girls were taken from their families and pressed into domestic servitude by the Australian Government. They were supposedly employed as servants, but with total control over their movements, wages and living conditions, their lives all too frequently became an inescapable cycle of abuse, rape and enslavement, with consequences that echo powerfully to this day. Recounting the stories of five of these women – Rita, Violet and the three Wenberg sisters – Servant or Slave is a commanding piece of first-person testimony to a dark and unacknowledged corner of Australian history. Shot with admirable craft and humanity by documentarian Steven McGregor (Croker Island Exodus, MIFF 2012), Servant or Slave is a work of great sadness and urgency, bringing to forceful life the human tragedy of Australia’s Indigenous history in the unadorned words of those who lived it.
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