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Britain, late-1970s. Punk is exploding. The country is deeply divided over immigration with the National Front, a far-right political party, gaining strength. Outraged by this xenophobic agenda and a racist speech from Eric Clapton, music photographer Red Saunders teams up with like-minded creatives to form Rock Against Racism. Focusing on issues that the mainstream British media ignores, the RAR zine challenges the status quo and sparks a grassroots youth movement that The Clash, Steel Pulse and other top punk bands jump on board. NR / 80 min.
Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy. NR / 87 min.
Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. The Kid doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Chaplin and Coogan make a miraculous pair in this nimble marriage of sentiment and slapstick, a film that is, as its opening title card states, “a picture with a smile—and perhaps, a tear.” NR / 68 min.