Revolutions, lies and videotape

Money, oil and allegations of U.S. involvement in Venezuela were among the topics confronted Monday night at the opening of the “John Reed-Ben Linder Progressive Fall Film Fest.”

The festival, sponsored by the Portland State Progressive Student Union, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztl퀌�n, Students for Unity and the PSU Green Party, aims to “provide an international perspective that is an alternative to globalization,” according to Lew Church of the PSU Progressive Student Union.

Ranging from documentaries to fictional pieces such as John Sayles’ “Lone Star,” the films mostly feature themes of government subversion and media censorship, with a particular focus on Latin America.

A small but diverse group gathered in Smith Memorial Student Union for the opening night.

The first film in the series, the Irish Film Board documentary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” examined a military coup in Venezuela in 2002 and drew connections between their media, their elite, and the U.S. government.

After a brief introduction by Church, the film was shown on a medium-sized television. Several lingered afterward to discuss their reactions and theories about the Venezuelan situation.

The festival consists of nine films, one each week, each followed by a discussion on the topics raised. It continues each Monday in SMSU, Room 225, from 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 1.

Next in the series will be “It’s Raining On Santiago,” a French-Bulgarian documentary about the bloody military coup of 1973 in Chile.

The fest takes its name from John Reed, a journalist and socialist born in Portland, famous for his coverage of 1917’s Russian revolution, and engineer Ben Linder, also an Oregon resident, who was killed by contras in Nicaragua in 1987 while working to build dams.

For a second chance to see “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” it will be shown again in SMSU, Room 234, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 as part of another Progressive Student Union event.

Juan Carlos Galvis, a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit accusing the Coca-Cola Company of using paramilitary forces in Columbia, will also speak at this event.