Film: 10983

Politics | 1980 | Sound | Colour


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Women for peace. Nuclear disarmament during the cold war era, 1980s.

RAF, Royal Air Force, Greenham Common site in the 1980s.
Views through the high wire fencing around the base. A jeep approaches at dawn or dusk. Personnel seen behind the fence with a security dog and standing in a watch tower. Chain link fence and barbed wire. A helicopter hovers in the background. Warning sign for Police Dog on Patrol. Two policemen stand in front of a sign for Welcome RAF Greenham Common, Tactical Missile Wing. Protestors arriving on mass, mainly women. Two women run to each other and hug. A sign strung to the chain link fence reads, “I’m Doing This For My Granddaughter Emily”. A child rattles a banner.
A middle-aged woman talks to camera about their protest and makes comparisons with the Suffragettes movement. She comments about how the press are ignoring the issue.
Group of women being photographed in front of a banner attached to a chain link fence. The banner says “Women For Life On Earth”. Woman attaching wreath of flowers to the fence. A silhouette view of a person up against the fence. A seated woman sorts through letters in a box on her lap. Hands trying to wrangle barbed wire at the top of a fence. Others walking past with a colourful banner. A woman protestor with a large mirror hung around her neck.
Back to the interviewee from earlier, who says “they were told they could stay as long as they like at the base”.
Someone trying to cut the fence with bolt cutters. Crowds of protesters standing at the fence. The sound includes chanting and singing. RAF personnel on the other side of the fence move towards a person who has broken through. Protestors pushing on the fence, trying to make it fall. British police move in and one woman is thrust aside. The woman who got through the fence is roughly led away by military men.

Sequence of black and white clips from earlier eras of women’s protests and struggles. Suffragettes marching, woman walks alongside a soldier going to war and refugees. Stills of a Suffragette being arrested, women protesting against the war and the constitution.

Knight-Ridder Newspapers journalist asks questions to US Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, where she famously answers, “You don’t have to have fought in a war to love peace”.

Students walk across the lawns in front of Toronto University. Two people standing outside one of the university’s buildings. Dr Ursula Franklin speaks to camera about militarism. Ursula works alongside a younger woman as they sit at a table. Ursula continues talking to camera about peace.
Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada.
A naval ship at the harbour entrance in silhouette at dusk. Muriel Duckworth, a Canadian pacifist and feminist, sits on a sofa with two young girls looking at a magazine. A group of women, including Muriel, are sewing a patchwork quilt with panels featuring peace doves. Muriel talks to camera about the importance of decision making at community level. Exterior view of Halifax city hall and the glass door with sign Office of the Mayor. Muriel sits in discussion with the Mayor of Halifax as they look at paperwork. Muriel at a street protest. She smiles and takes a photo of a woman protestor in fancy dress speaking into a megaphone. Muriel sits with school children in a classroom, folding paper cranes. A living room with a group of people having a meeting. Muriel is present as another woman addresses the group. Muriel reads an Adrienne Rich poem to camera.

Red Square Moscow. Workers dig up a coned off section of the square. A long queue of people slowly moves forward. Muriel Duckworth is in the queue with a woman named Kathleen ?, who works on a disarmament programme with Project Ploughshares. Close up of guards marching. Kremlin walls. The two women walk through the streets of Moscow arm in arm in heavy winter coats. Traffic and other pedestrians in the street scenes. Smiling women traders in a Russian indoor market. Outside two people sweep a monument clear of snow. Older Russian faces, babushkas. Person feeding pigeons. Women with children on a snowy footpath. Row of scales in a market, with what looks like mushrooms being sold. Child smiles and waves at camera. Women sign as they sit around a table set with tea cups. The exterior of the premises of the USSR Institute for US and Canada Studies in Moscow. A man enters.
Inside, the women meet with Mira Petrovskaya who talks about NATO and the USA and how the Soviets need to be able to defend themselves against possible nuclear war. “No one is preparing to fight, they are preparing to defend themselves”. Kathleen from Project Ploughshares responds with comments as to how the stockpiling of weapons always leads to war not defence.
St Petersburg, Leningrad, Russia. Palace Square buildings.
The women lay flowers at a war memorial with an eternal flame burning. Piskaryovskoye Cemetery in heavy snow. Close up view of one grave from 1942 with single flowers laid.
1940s B&W footage of the siege of Leningrad. Starving people, pedestrians walk past dead bodies in the snow, woman on a stretcher, a wrapped body is pulled along on a sled on an icy road, a crying woman hands over a dead baby. A survivor of the siege talks to Muriel Duckworth, as they stand in the cemetery. Statue in the central alley of the cemetery. The survivor is asked by Muriel if she is afraid there will be another war. Two people lay a large wreath at the memorial in the cemetery.
Footage returns to the discussion in Moscow at the USSR Institute for US and Canada Studies, where Mira Petrovskaya talks to the Project Ploughshares representative. They talk about fear between the West and the Soviet Union and the U.S.S.R’s involvement in conflicts around the world.

Back to Dr Ursula Franklin in her office, where she talks about the “concept of enemy”. As Dr Ursula speaks, brief clips of Red Square and the Moscow skyline are shown.
Overhead view of a large field of new aeroplanes parked. They are partially wrapped in protective covering. The narration talks about over supply and over production within the USA.
Moscow streets and pedestrians. People come up steps from a subway. Street stall selling cigarettes, Tabak. Pedestrians walking along busy streets, most dressed in winter clothes with fur hats or scarves. An old woman delves into her handbag. More people walking along wide pavements.
Back to Dr Ursula Franklin in her office, where she talks about the “senselessness of the arms race”. More Russians walking along streets in their heavy clothes. People of all ages, old men and women, professional people on route to work and youths.

Writer, Margaret Laurence, is interviewed and talks about peace.

A group of Russian people, including soldiers in uniform with their wives or girlfriends, pose for a group photo. Some are holding bunches of flowers. They are alongside a river and there is snow and ice on the ground. A couple with a young child pull a sled in the snow. A man waves as he swims in a pool surrounded by ice. People sit on a bench with a newspaper. A toddler is helped to walk along a wall. Kids play on a playground slide, a boy slides down and looks up as he reaches the bottom of the slide. Panning view along the castellated Kremlin wall.

Unidentifiable tropical third world location, probably Central America. Young girls carry urns on their heads as they walk along a road through a village. As they pass the camera a gang of men carrying rifles walk across the road. Although one appears to have some sort of official uniform, the other men are in casual dress. Militia, revolutionaries or guerrilla fighters? Primary school aged children dance in a circle with their teachers outside the school building. A large trench is in the foreground.

Part 2 of this film continues at film 10984

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