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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Oct 06, 2015
Headline for Get Up, Stand Up: 6 Films about the Dynamics of Protest
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Get Up, Stand Up: 6 Films about the Dynamics of Protest

In the news, we only get short clips of protest actions. Movies may mix fact and fiction, but sometimes we get to experience the feelings and complexities of political action. Here are 6 movies that carry those protest stories a bit further:

Night Moves

Kelly Reichardt’s new film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard. By the feeling the trailer gives, this movie understands the air of tension that comes with political acts. Even the title points out the act of taking things underground by blinding darkness, and the sacrifices made in the shadows.

The East

Starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, and Ellen Page, The East is another film about underground political action. It highlights the need for trust in a group, the moral ambiguity of these situations, and the outcomes you simply cannot plan or expect.

Battle in Seattle

A handful of actors, including Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson, star in this film about the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, Washington. This film demonstrates public protests from all directions in a mass of voices that will not be silenced.Tensions rise, not only between cops and protesters, but also between the activists themselves.

The Chicago 8

This is a film about the aftermath of the 1968 protests at the Chicago Democratic convention. The courtroom, a space built by the system, turns into a site of protest. Danny Masterson and Thomas Ian Nicholas star as famous activists Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.

Iron Jawed Angels

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns are played by Hillary Swank and Frances O’Connor in this film about the women who wouldn’t back down during the 1917 suffrage movement. It is a stylized take on history, but the story is inspiring as their determination, brilliance, and vulnerability is evident.

Land and Freedom

Ian Hart plays David Carr, a Liverpool man with strong communist beliefs who travels to Spain and ends up in the POUM militia during the Spanish Civil War. This is not just a movie about conflict; it is also about the dreams of a new world. It’s difficult to hold on to dreams of utopia while fighting and fascism are all around.