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The Internationale [DVD] [English] [2000]

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Special Features

  • Short film: Toscanini: Hymn of the Nations
  • A brief history of "The Internationale"
  • Director biography
  • Song lyrics


The Internationale
In 1871, an ex-mayor named Eugene Pottier wrote a set of lyrics that called for the working masses to throw off the shackles of their oppressors. Later, a French factory worker, Pierre Degeyter, added a new melody and "The Internationale" spread rapidly through France and then Europe. The song was translated into dozens of languages and quickly became a rallying cry for communists, anarchists, and socialists worldwide. During a number of strikes, "The Internationale" unified workers of different nationalities and diverse cultural backgrounds. The song often served for multiple causes, from labor rights to the defeat of fascism in Spain, but after becoming the official anthem of the Soviet Union in 1917, many associated "The Internationale" with communism under Joseph Stalin. Slowly, though, new versions and interpretations of the song began to appear, revitalizing its connection to radical movements worldwide. The students sang "The Internationale" in Tiananmen Square, and folksinger Billy Bragg added new lyrics in the late '80s. The Internationale mixes multiple interviews with folksinger Pete Seeger and others with rare archival film footage. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

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