Radical, Dude 

They don't call us the Left Coast for nothing.

In the run-up to November's presidential election, loosey-goosey politicos and lazy journalists alike have been throwing around the label "leftist" with reckless abandon. It's plain to see they don't know the meaning of the word. If, say, curious John McCain supporters or worried neo-cons wanted to hang out with real, live, homegrown leftists to get the lay of the land, they need go no further than the Long Haul Infoshop in South Berkeley, where Wednesday evenings in March are Radical Movie Nights.

The March 12 feature is Salt of the Earth, a notorious 1954 narrative about striking Mexican-American zinc mine workers in New Mexico, made by director Herbert J. Biberman and other members of the "Hollywood 10." The film and most of its cast and crew were blacklisted during the Cold War red scare, but later, in 1992, Salt of the Earth was selected for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. Go figure.

The series continues with What to Do in Case of Fire (2001), a tale of anarchist squatters, homemade bombs, and propaganda in the old West Berlin in the '80s, on March 19; and on March 26, it's Shekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen (1994), the white-hot true story of Phoolan Devi, the Northern Indian revolutionary who avenged her gang rape with extreme prejudice and eventually became a feminist politician. Ms. Devi, who was assassinated in 2001, reportedly hated the film so much she threatened to burn herself alive if it were released. But see it anyway — in direct contrast with polite contemporary US social-protest movies, it's far from subtle and well behaved. TheLongHaul.org

Moon Over Alameda: On Sunday, March 8 at Auctions by the Bay in Alameda, Lunafest — possibly the best film festival sponsored by a nutrition bar — presents its seventh annual lineup of women-identified short films and videos. Among the crop are a family story from South Africa (My Other Mother), a documentary on the healing properties of radishes (Daikon Ashi), and a drama of a Palestinian girl and a birthday cake (Make a Wish). Two complete shows, 3 and 6 p.m. Admission is $20, $10 for students, and proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Fund and other charities. Lunafest.org

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