Political Pictures

When asked what a government most fears, one prime minister declared, "Events, dear boy. Events". These films chart events and people, real and imagined, who dared to ask for change, for power and for more.

From the revolutionary stirrings of Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin to the intellectual interrogation of The Stuart Hall Project, our collection offers an entryist route into cinema's body-politic: where radical thought meets imperative image-making.

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Land and FreedomLand and Freedom

War1995105 minsDirector: Ken Loach

Ken Loach’s passionate war drama follows an idealistic young Liverpudlian (Ian Hart) who fights for the international brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

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The Stuart Hall ProjectThe Stuart Hall Project

Documentary201399 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

Composed of film, music and photographs from the archives, a fascinating portrait of the life and times of the founder of cultural studies and the New Left Experience.

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Historical drama1987182 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

Bill Douglas' epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union.

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Historical drama197696 minsDirector: Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo

An authentic historical drama about the visionary Gerrard Winstanley who led a group of impoverished 'Diggers' to assert their common rights.

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Drama197341 minsSilentDirector: Tony Bicât

Tony Bicât’s radical, found-footage record of a revolutionary act, in which three dissidents kidnap a cabinet and torture a cabinet minister.

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Little MalcolmLittle Malcolm

Drama1975111 minsDirector: Stuart Cooper

Delusional revolutionary Malcolm Scrawdyke (John Hurt) leads his Party of Dynamic Erection in a battle against an unseen nemesis in this dark comedy.

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Laboured PartyLaboured Party

Documentary197520 minsDirector: Stephen Dwoskin

An unsuspecting Labour Party canvasser stumbles onto an experimental film set and is drawn into a strange atmosphere of uninhibited abandon.

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Riddles of the SphinxRiddles of the Sphinx

Drama197787 minsDirector: Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s visually accomplished and intellectually rigorous film is one of the most important avant-garde films of the 1970s.

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Before the RevolutionBefore the Revolution

Drama1964107 minsDirector: Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci's beautifully operatic film celebrates the passion and ideology of the 1960s, winner of the Cannes Critics' Week prize in 1964.

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Drama198382 minsDirector: Edward Bennett

An English aristocrat is driven to despair over the effects of violence on her family, in this powerful meditation on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

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That Hamilton WomanThat Hamilton Woman

Biopic1941120 minsDirector: Alexander Korda

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier bring Hollywood glitz to the love affair between Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton in the midst of political turmoil.

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The Birth of a NationThe Birth of a Nation

Historical drama1915191 minsSilentDirector: D.W. Griffith

D W Griffith's highly controversial and abhorrently racist, yet historically significant American silent epic about the American Civil War and its aftermath.

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Battleship PotemkinBattleship Potemkin

Historical drama192569 minsSilentDirector: Sergei M. Eisenstein

A fixture in the critical canon almost since its premiere, Eisenstein’s film about a 1905 naval mutiny was revolutionary in both form and content.