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The Machine That Kills Bad People: Incident at Restigouche + Serpent River
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Alanis Obomsawin, Incident at Restigouche, 1984, 45 min.

We began our film club two years ago out of a shared love for the communal situation of the cinema. Now that our home at the Institute of Contemporary Arts is temporarily closed, as are so many cinemas around the world, in the spirit of staying together we’re going online.
– The Machine That Kills Bad People

Watch the two films planned for next The Machine that Kills Bad People screening for free – Alanis Obomsawin’s Incident at Restigouche (1984) and Sandra Lahire’s Serpent River (1989) accompanied by a newly commissioned essay by Tendai Mutambu on Incident at Restigouche

Both Lahire’s Serpent River and Obomsawin’s Incident at Restigouche are films that deal with land rights activism in Canada. Lahire’s experimental documentary looks at the dangers of Uranium mining in Ontario Canada. It is one of a series of nuclear films; the others include Terminals (1986). Uranium Hex (1987) and Plutonium Blonde (1987). The salmon-fishing rights of the First Nation Mi’kmaq, and their infringement by the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) are the subject of Obomsawin's ground-breaking 1984 documentary.

The Machine That Kills Bad People is, of course, the cinema – a medium that is so often and so visibly in service of a crushing status quo but which, in the right hands, is a fatal instrument of beauty, contestation, wonder, politics, poetry, new visions, testimonies, histories, dreams. It is also a film club devoted to showing work – ‘mainstream’ and experimental, known and unknown, historical and contemporary – that takes up this task. The group borrowed their name from the Roberto Rossellini film of the same title, and find inspiration in the eclectic juxtapositions of Amos Vogel’s groundbreaking New York film society Cinema 16.

The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers.