GIFF PRESENTS A SPECIAL SCREENING OF INTERNATIONAL FILMS THAT CELEBRATE THE TRANSFORMATIONAL SPIRIT IN THE SPRING OF 1968, 50 YEARS LATER
By 1968, more than 50 years had transpired since Mexico’s triumph in the 1910 Revolution. With no political alternation, under the Institutional Revolutionary regimen and during the supposed “economic miracle” growth, the post-Cárdenas movement was losing its charm. The people began to perceive the government’s efforts for resolving inequality and the rest of the problems in the economic model as insufficient. The authoritarianism and the limits of democracy were beginning to be called out in the 1960’s all over the world, which planted the seeds for a rebellious spirit that spread all the way to the youth of Mexico City. This did notonly strike a flame in the University youth: it also inspired professors, intellectuals, housewives, workers and professionals who joined together to build the movement in Mexico. The 1968 movement in Mexico demanded a request that would include that political prisoners be freed, the abolition of Article 145 of the Penal Code (social dissolution felony), the disappearance of bodies of grenadiers, dismissing the Chief of Police, as well as the compensation of those wounded in the movement and the demarcation of responsibilities of a series of State officials. The government’s failure to tend to the modernization of Mexico’s society and meet the demands of the movement, as well as its interest for putting on a good face internationally as host country for the Olympic Games that year, were President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz’s justificatioAn for brutally suppressing the peaceful protest on October 2, 1968, at the “Plaza de Tres Culturas” in Tlatelolco. This was one of the bloodiest suppressions of a student protest in the history of the country, which killed an unknown number of victims. The official numbers state there were 23 dead, but subsequent independent investigations and time reveal that there might have been 325, plus thousands arrested and hundreds more wounded. This social phenomenon and the spirit of transformation that ran through the year 1968, as well as its repressive response, had a simultaneous quorum in several countries. A few months before the Tlatelolco massacre, in May of 1968, France went through one of the most significant social revolts in the History of Modern Europe when workers and students rebelled against Capitalism, consumerism and American imperialism in an act of massive strikes and demonstrations. With more than 11 million workers on strike (22% of the population of France at the time), May of 68 is considered the largest general strike in the History of that country. Several political leaders thought they might be facing the possibility of a Revolution or Civil War. In Brazil, the growing tension between students and the military government reached a limit when, in February 1968, a group of students took over the University cafeteria at the Ensino Cooperative Institute, demanding a lowering of prices in the student cafeteria. During the police repression, a student died of a gunshot, which lead to a series of protests that lasted several days all over the country. One of the most significant was on June 21 in Rio de Janeiro, known as “Bloody Friday”. With a count of 28 dead and hundreds of wounded, circumstances propitiated the end of the movement and four days later, on June 26, 1968, would result in “The March of the Ten Thousand”, one of the biggest and most important popular demonstrations in Latin America and the greatest popular demonstration against the Brazilian dictatorship. In the mid-1960’s, West Germany suffered its first recession since World War II. The right-center coalition government limited the political opposition to 50 out of the 518 seats that made up the Bundestag Parliament. This anti-democratic and anti-authoritarianism movement prevailed among the University youth. In 1967, after an assassination attempt on student leader Rudi Dutschke, the community exploded against the official newspaper that labelled him a public enemy, leaving 400 students wounded and two dead. On May 11, 1968, the movement reached its apex in the Bonn demonstrations with more than 80,000 people marching against the State’s Emergency Law that sought to take civil liberties away from its people to counter the effects of the student movement. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of that tumultuous year, the Guanajuato International Film Festival commemorates the spirit of these student movements in Mexico, France, Brazil and Germany through a special series of screenings that Will Project, through different styles and viewpoints, the relevance of these events and its social repercussions. Five decades since the Tlatelolco massacre and the student movements all over the globe, the local international stage is not that different. Social unrest is immense, and the possibility of change returns almost like clockwork. If Mexican society was an example in 1968, it can be again in 2018 with one of the most valuable natural resources it possesses: the solidarity and strength of its people.