our cities are battlegrounds NOW

This is “NOW” (1965) a short film by Cuban filmmaker Santiago Alvarez. The song in the film is called NOW, and is sung by civil rights activist, Lena Horne, (who also performs in the video clip below, with another civil rights activist, Kermit the Frog). A classic archive of the civil rights struggle in the cities of the United States of America.

What I find interesting about the film, is how it is composed almost entirely of still images, mostly photos that one might find in the newspapers of the period. Simple materials, but the rhythmic editing, matched to the intensity of the music, produces a remarkably moving effect. Alvarez was a master of using found materials. As he once said: “Give me two photographs, a moviola and some music and I’ll make you a film.”

Now, Now, Now, Now, Now, Now, NOW IS THE TIME. THE TIME IS…NOW!

Martin Luther King Day, New York City, 2010


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