Ferrua, Pietro

The Anarchist Guest. Emma Goldman

Film by Coleman Romalis

GOLDMAN, Emma (1869-1940)FALK, CandaceFERRUA, Pietro (Piero) Michele Stefano (1930 - ....)Communication. Documentary filmsCommunication. Movies Online

Canada, 2000,

color and B&W,

41 minutes and 30 seconds,

Toronto Romalis Productions.

SCREENWRITERS: Coleman Romalis, Clarke Mackey, David Stein;

CAMERA: Coleman Romalis, Sam Ball, Elizabeth Sher, Karen Shopsowitz;

EDITOR: David A. Stein;

MUSIC: Ken Whiteley, Mark Landau, Daniel Mackey;

PRODUCER: Coleman Romalis;

VOICES OF: Rosalind Chaplin Kindler, Collin Adams, Matthew Clark, Rick Fielding, Milena and Shelly Romalis.

The international anarchist movement has generated several strong female militants and thinkers but usually they distinguished themselves only in a national context. So Maria Lacerda de Moura is hardly known outside Brazil; Nella Giacomelli and Leda Rafanelli are mostly known in Italy, Jeanne Humbert in France, and so on. A few were active in two countries, such as Virgilia d’Andrea (in Italy and the USA), Luce Fabbri (in Italy and Uruguay), Federica Montseny (in Spain and France). Emma Goldman is second to none (with the possible exception of the French Louise Michel): born in Lithuania, lived in the United States and Russia, Canada and France, Austria and Spain, and in each country she left something of herself.

As a true internationalist, she was involved in numerous causes: at least three revolutions (the Mexican, the Russian, and the Spanish). Other than that she was a great organizer, an excellent writer, a capable lecturer, who was always present wherever injusticed victims required her help. She fought against conscription and for all feminist causes (such as birth control and free love). She befriended artists (such as Robert Henri, George Bellows, Adolf Wolff, Man Ray) writers (as O’Neill and Theodore Dreiser), but also common people, union members, foreign refugees, hobos.

The film shows us Emma at different stages of her life, in various contexts, in several countries. We see Emma also through the eyes of others, such as those of Audrey Goodfriend, who crossed the United Staes to visit with her. Another person interviewed is Candace Falk, one of her biographers and the founder of the Emma Goldman Archives at the University of California at Berkeley.

Coleman Romalis has full control over his film, beeing the screenwriter, the director, the producer and the main cameraman. He joins cleverly rare archival footage, live interviews, printed documents and visual materials.

This is a great introduction for students of Emma Goldman life and works which will undoubtedly encourage many of them to pursue reading about her as well as discovering her own writings.

Pietro Ferrua