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BLACK PANTHERS, POP ART, AND 1960s CALIFORNIA in the films of Antonello Branca



BLACK PANTHERS, POP ART, AND 1960s CALIFORNIA  in the films of Antonello Branca

The Program for the Study of Italy at U.C. Berkeley and the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco are pleased to present a two-day conference honoring the work of Italian filmmaker Antonello Branca (1935 - 2002), a series of documentaries focusing on the pressing social and cultural issues of the 1960s in California and the US.

Branca was one of the few Italian filmmakers able to witness American society from within. With his camera he was quick to catch the social changes taking place in U.S. society during the mid 1960s. In the course of several visits, Branca shot a wide variety of subjects – from interviews to street scenes to speeches and performance – but he was only able to edit a small part of them for programs commissioned by the Italian state TV.

The most significant of such works will be screened for the first time in California, providing an insightful image of a period that is famously inscribed in American history. The Black Panthers movement, the Vietnam War protests, the Beat and Pop art scene, are only a few of the subjects that Branca’s camera portrayed. The screenings will be accompanied by a round table discussion, with the participation of Donatella Barazzetti, President of the Associazione Culturale Antonello Branca (ACAB) and Branca’s companion, Kathleen Cleaver, a former member of the BPP and now as senior lecturer at Emory University School of Law, and Jeffrey Blankfort, photographer, radio personality, and Branca’s personal friend.

The conference will take place at the UC Berkeley Campus on October 24 & 25, 2016. An absolute first for the West Coast, its goal is to bring to light works that have largely been forgotten in too many histories of cinema, but that besides their historical value have a fascinating and astonishing connection with contemporary issues. The aspiration is also to pay homage to a beautiful human being and an excellent cinematographer that is still unduly underrated.

Branca’s films are generously provided by the Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico of Rome, Italy, where Branca’s archive is preserved. (

Monday, October 24, 6-9pm:
The Nestrick Room, 142 Dwinelle Hall

  • What’s happening? (1967, 44 min.) - A documentary about the Beat and Pop Art Generation, a portrait of America seen through the eyes of artists and intellectuals who were about to revolutionize (forever) the international artistic panorama. Allen Ginsberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Gregory Corso, and others;
  • Seize the Time (1970, 90 min) - A movie about and with the Black Panthers. It brings together drama, fiction cinema and documentary cinema.

Tuesday, October 25, 3-6pm:
340 Stephens Hall

  • Dissent (1968, 47 min.) A documentary showing the hot climate of social unrest that beset the whole of American society in the 1960s. The campesinos protest, Berkeley and La Jolla students confronted by police, the revolt of the inner city ghettos, the defiance of the Vietnam War draft, Robert Kennedy’s last public speech;
  • Roundtable discussion;
  • California materials: unedited interviews (Henry Miller, Herbert Marcuse, Raymond Hewitt, and more), unedited speeches (James Baldwin, Jerry Rubin, Robert Kennedy).

The conference is co-organized and co-sponsored by The Program for the Study of Italy of the UC Berkeley Institute of European Studies and the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, in collaboration with the Italian Society at Berkeley and the Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico of Rome, Italy, and with support from the Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley.



With thanks to:

PSOI UC Berkeley:
- Mia Fuller (;
- Brandon Schneider (;
- Julia Nelsen (; @PSOI_UCB

Italian Society at Berkeley:
- Arthur J. Lei (;
- Chiara Cecchelli (;

Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico:
- Letizia Cortini (
- Alice Ortenzi (
- Aurora Palandrani (


Date: Da Monday, October 24, 2016 a Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Time: From 6:00 pm To 7:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : Program for the Study of Italy (UC Berkeley), Ital

Entrance : Free