Box Car Bertha

Boxcar Bertha film stillIn Sister of the Road, published in 1937, Box-Car Bertha Thompson recounted her life: early years in her mother’s South Dakota boarding house; childhood stays in anarchist communes near Little Rock and Tacoma; hoboing alone, with one of her sisters or one of her lovers; working for a Chicago abortionist; running with a gang of midwest shoplifters; bedding 1500 men — one of whom fathered her daughter — during a two month prostitution stint; hitchhiking around the country collecting data on transient women; working for a pathology clinic in Chicago, running a women’s service bureau in Alabama and becoming secretary of New York City’s Unemployed Women’s Education Association. Continue reading

Rebellion in Patagonia (Patagonia Rebelde)

Film stillRebellion in Patagonia is a rich, layered film that touches on a host of central themes in Argentine history and culture: imperialism, territorial conflict; the clash between the gauchesque traditions of the Argentine criollos and the ‘modernizing’ agenda of the Europeanized elites and the strained relations between immigrant and native workers. It asks questions about the nature of revolutionary ideology and practice; about contradictory impulses within the military; about the limitations — and dangers — of populist government. It is at once psychological drama, historical drama and political thriller. Continue reading

Kinky Boots

Film stillKinky Boots, the 2005 British-American comedy-drama written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth and directed by Julian Jarrold, was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical of the same name that just won 6 Tony awards.

The film tells the story of a 5th generation men’s shoe-maker, Charlie Price (played by Joel Edgerton), who inherits the failing family business and struggles to rescue the factory which is at the economic  heart of the little village of Northampton, England. Continue reading

Nothing But a Man

film stillNothing  But a Man is the most acclaimed movie you’ve never seen. Released in 1964, it won the San Giorgio Prize at the Venice Film Festival, awarded to films considered especially important for the progress of civilization. It was re-released nearly thirty years later, at which time the Washington Post said of it, “It may be that the best film to come out so far in 1993 was actually made in 1964. [It] is one of the most sensitive films about black life ever made in this country.” One year later it was listed in the National Film Registry. And on its fortieth anniversary it was released on DVD, at which time a critic for DVD Talk said of it, “Brilliant is not a word to be taken lightly, but in the case of 1964’s Nothing But a Man, brilliant barely begins to scratch the surface.” Yet, it was a commercial failure during the three decades after being made. While planned to be shown to integrated audiences, the film would mainly be presented in schools and churches in black communities in sixteen millimeter format. Continue reading


Film StillSeveral months after Reds was released, American Film magazine usefully published the identities of 32 ‘witnesses’ to the events depicted, whose recollections supplement and are meant to authenticate the film’s narrative. (See below. Biographic links can be found at the Wikipedia entry for Reds) . Though listed in the film’s credits, the witnesses’ names do not accompany their onscreen testimony, as they would in a documentary, leaving the viewer confused. Still, these inconclusive reminiscences, only a fraction of the interviews conducted by Beatty with John Reed’s contemporaries, hint at the film’s rich and complex context while masking the omission of Reed’s life prior to meeting Louise Bryant. Continue reading


Film StillBertolucci’s 1900 came out in 1976. Originally 301 minutes long, it was shown as two separate films released in Italy a few weeks apart.  An abridged version, a single film 248 minutes long, was shown over Bertolucci’s protest in the United States. The complete version was screened in major U.S. cities in 1982, but did not have a nationwide release. The director’s cut, which we are able to show tonight, requires a warning: “This film contains graphic sex, extreme violence, flamboyant profanity, child abuse — and Communism! Continue reading

The Errand Boy

Film StillJerry Lewis is not a filmmaker who has received his due in my opinion. He is an artist and a personality that I must confess to feeling equally fascinated and repelled by and I fear that a sense of balance doesn’t exist in most viewers who are mostly just repelled by him. But I believe my own reaction to that is in keeping with what’s always been Jerry’s own personality, especially around the time when he made the film you’ll see tonight, which is this curious mix of self-love and self-loathing. Continue reading

Time Out

Film StillTime Out (L’Emploi Du Temps) is an important labor film because it is truly about work  about how work and the absence of work define people in the post-industrial world.

Unlike Human Resources, Laurent Cantet’s first feature film, which dealt with the conflicting values of a production worker and his manager son in a unionized manufacturing plant, Time Out looks at intergenerational values within the bourgeoisie  a world, Cantet notes, of bureaucrats and administrators: “Vincent,” the protagonist, “didn’t struggle for his place in society. It was given to him because of his milieu. And so he had the continual feeling of being a usurper.” Continue reading

Mondays In the Sun

Film StillBuenas noches y bienvenidos.

The film that we are going to see tonight it is not based on one true story but on thousands of true stories. Los Lunes al Sol (Mondays in the Sun) by Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa tells us of the lives of mostly middle-aged men that lost their jobs when the shipyard, the primary source of employment in their city, closed its doors in 1984. Continue reading