Name curator: Alex Johnston
Name artist: Nick Macdonald
Title of the work you have chosen: No More Leadershit
English title: No More Leadershit
Year of production: 1971
Read about the film and the curator down here:
About the curator:
Alex Johnston is a media maker and scholar, based in Santa Cruz, California. His work has screened at a wide variety of venues, including the Cachoeira Doc Festival, San Francisco’s Other Cinema, the New Orleans Film Festival, Iowa City Documentary Film Festival, and the Miners' Colfax Medical Center, a convalescent home for retired hard rock and coal miners in Raton, New Mexico. Alex is also the managing editor of the radical online media journal NOW! A Journal of Urgent Praxis. (NOW-Journal.com)
About the films and filmmaker:
Nick Macdonald is a New York-based writer, filmmaker, and avowed anarchist, who in the 1970s made a cycle of radical, essayistic experimental documentaries.
No More Leadershit is a diminutive work, combining stop motion animation and live action in a simple structural conceit. Accompanied by the sounds of his children playing, Macdonald (in voiceover) grapples with the inherent inequality of political leadership, and advocates for a world in which there are no more leaders . . . on the Right or the Left. (Particularly amusing is his reluctant renunciation of iconic liberatory figures such as Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and Abbie Hoffman.) In our contemporary historical moment, when populist demagoguery is seemingly in vogue around the world, the film’s core message rings especially true.
As with most of Macdonald’s films, No More Leadershit articulates an explicit political project. Yet it does so through a lyrical rhetorical form, which, when combined with his messy autobiographical touch, renders it firmly in the realm of the poetic. There is an alchemy at work here, a melding of Macdonald’s ideological commitments with a restless formal creativity, whereby politics and poetics become indistinguishable from one another. The great Soviet filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein wrote: "The first thing to remember is that there is, or rather should be, no cinema other than agit-cinema." In the films of Nick Macdonald, we see just this commitment to agitation (a commitment more crucial now than ever): agitation for justice, for equality, for love, and for a future without leaders.