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network 16/03/2016 - 11:00AM

Jason O’Hara’s RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE on VOD

Cinema Politica is thrilled to announce that Jason O’Hara’s short documentary, RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE is the first film available on Cinema Politica’s new VOD service. 

Cinema Politica’s VOD efforts will help us directly support activist filmmakers and their causes: half of the money raised with these screenings will go the filmmaker and/or the film’s rights-holder. By paying to watch our VOD films audiences are also supporting CP and the work we do: half of all proceeds will go directly to Cinema Politica.

During this initial trial period for CP VOD, you can rent films individually with either a major credit card or a PayPal account. By late summer, we hope to expand our selection to 30+ films, and we will introduce a standardized and affordable monthly membership fee that will allow unlimited viewings of all films: why, yes, that does sound like the Netflix of activist documentaries—but not-for-profit and carefully curated! 

With our pilot VOD film, RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE, we are very excited to announce that director Jason O’Hara has generously agreed to donate his share of the proceeds to a non-profit organization in Rio de Janeiro that remains strongly affiliated to the activism depicted in his film.

Stills from RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE, by Jason O'Hara

RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE explores the role of music as a community-rallying tool against unchecked police brutality in the poorest neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro. Many of Rio’s favelas were once controlled by violent street gangs, and the Brazilian government’s current strategy for policing the favelas is hardly an improvement: the UPP (the so-called “Pacifying Police Units”) is armed with military-grade weaponry, and occupies the streets like a conquering army. Their officers are chronically under-supervised, and frequently abuse their authority with excessively violent searches, imprisonments without trial, and an alarming willingness to shoot first and never ask questions.

O’Hara’s film follows a handful of Rio’s street musicians, from samba celebrities to rapping buskers, as they demonstrate how unruly law enforcement cannot possibly solve the underlying issues of poverty and malcontent in the favelas. As one of the musicians summarizes, “To really pacify would be to address the misery, or collaborating with the community to address the real problems, to do social programs. Where is the real source of the violence? Why does a kid grow up and become marginalized? … And who is policing the police?”.  

Their overtly political music performed resonates in the film’s other interviews. O’Hara juxtaposes a human rights lawyer’s investigations into police executions with the smooth condescension of a UPP representative. The contrasting visions of Rio ultimately present the city as a place where its official story does not match its lived experience.

Films like RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE are an invaluable addition to the Cinema Politica roster because of their mandate to deploy art to screen—and, in this case, to also sing—truth to power. 

So rent RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE today, and help support a positive change for the people of Rio’s favelas while also sending a little cash to Cinema Politica.