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Run Time
0h 26m 48s
Date Produced
A short film based on the Homestead Plot; an assassination attempt helmed by anarchist Emma Goldman and her collaborators - also lovers - fellow political activist Alexander Berkman and illustrator Modest "Fedya" Stein, which took place in New York City, May 1892.

The film was made under the auspices of the NEC - Warner Brothers Summer Film Workshop, during the months of July and August 1975. It was produced at Humboldt State University, and filmed entirely on location at Eureka, California. The 1970s saw renewed interest in Emma Goldman, and Attentat is an attempt to explore her life and work by highlighting her important writings on capitalism, government, love and personal freedom through the prism of this pivotal event.
After the countdown, the meaning behind the film's title, Attentat, is briefly stated in stark block letters: "An Act of Violence."

The narrator reads directly from some of Emma Goldman's pivotal texts on the subject of governance and capitalism as photos depicting immigrants arriving to New York's Ellis Island, and the poor conditions of immigrant life in New York City’s tenements are juxtaposed with images of palaces and the extravagant wealth of the upper classes. The film then switches to its dramatic centerpiece, beginning with Emma's arrest after the failed assassination attempt of Henry Clay Frick, the manager of the Carnegie Steel Company, in retaliation for the deaths that resulted from the Homestead Strike which took place at a steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

The film documents the complicated relationship between Goldman, Berkman, and Stein, who all lived together at the time. These early, slightly more domestic scenes are anchored by the voiceover reading Goldman's writings on love, marriage, and the relationship of the latter institution to capitalism. 

It is against this backdrop wherein the trio explore the relationship between the political and the personal that the assassination plot is hatched, which culminates in the imprisonment of Berkman, followed by Goldman. 
Main Credits
James Benoit (is director)
Additional Credit
James Benoit (is writer)
John Braukis (is cinematographer)
Frank Chase (sound)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Jerri Young (is actor)
Bill Haigwood (is actor)
Ray Kril (is actor)
Related Places
California (production location of)
New York (depicts)