Images Cinema Presents 20th Century Women in Film Series
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States. In celebration of that historic expansion of voting rights, Images Cinema is presenting a series of films about women's activism and advocacy from then until today.
From January through May, Images will present both narrative and documentary films that highlight woman activist stories. Each film is paired with a woman activist guest speaker or speakers. Regular admission prices apply unless otherwise noted. Images Cinema is located at 50 Spring St.
"I was inspired to put this series together by the confluence of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage and all of the vital activism by young people happening right now, including the March for Our Lives, Greta Thunberg and Sunrise," Images Cinema Managing Director Janet Curran said. "We're in a moment with the simultaneous need to appreciate both the past and activate the present in order to move into the future with any kind of integrity. That is why we are opening the series with 'We Are the Radical Monarchs,' to celebrate our current and future activists."
This project has been supported by a grant from the Fund for Williamstown of the Berkshire Taconic Community.
The lineup includes:
* "We Are the Radical Monarchs" (2019), Monday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton via Skype. Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, "We Are the Radical Monarchs" documents the Radical Monarchs, an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, ages 8 to 13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice, being an LGBTQ ally, the environment, and disability justice. The group was started by two queer women of color, and their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love and hope.
* "One Woman, One Vote" (1993), Saturday, Jan. 18, 2 p.m., free admission. The guest speaker will be Bette Craig of the Northern Berkshire Suffrage Centennial Coalition. This PBS documentary is a sweeping look at the women's suffrage movement, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s famous Seneca Falls call to arms to the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women voting rights. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, the documentary features historical photos and video clips of the suffrage movement, as well as a number of historians who provide needed context. The film also delves into the deep divisions within the suffrage movement. The New York Times called the film "inspiring without being rhapsodic," saying it tells viewers "as much about the exigencies of American politics as about the heroism of three generations of American women."
* "Erin Brockovich" (2000), Monday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Joya Sonnenfeldt of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her portrayal of real-life super hero Erin Brockovich. Desperate for a job to support herself and her three children, Erin convinces attorney Ed Masry to hire her and promptly stumbles upon a monumental law case against a giant corporation polluting a community's water. Erin is determined to take on this powerful adversary even though no law firm has dared to do it before. Ed doesn't want anything to do with the case, but Erin won't take "no" for an answer. So the two begin an incredible, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-wrenching fight that will bring a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees.
* "Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed" (2004), Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Barbara Winslow, founder and director emerita of the Shirley Chisholm Project. Winner of a Peabody Award and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, this powerful documentary follows the career of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman ever to run for president of the United States. A teacher in Harlem, Chisholm had a passion for progress, which brought her to local politics, then a seat in Congress, and ultimately a run for the presidency in 1972. With archival footage and contemporary interviews, including with Walter Cronkite, George Wallace, and Chisholm herself, this provocative film is a testament to Chisholm's "sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo."
* "Time for Ilhan" (2018), Monday, March 9, 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be Tracy Baker White of Greylock Together and Maddy Art of Mount Greylock REV (Register, Educate, Vote), who will speak about local voter engagement initiatives. On November 8, 2016, a young, hijab-wearing mother-of-three named Ilhan Omar made history, becoming the first Somali Muslim woman to be elected to state office in America. She was hailed by the New York Times as "one of the bright lights in the post-election darkness," and the documentary film "Time for Ilhan" intimately chronicles her hard-fought campaign for state representative in Minnesota's Senate District 60B, home to the nation's largest Somali community. A fresh take on the old story of the American Dream, "Time for Ilhan" offers an inspiring, stereotype-busting portrait of a rising political star as she begins a bold and powerful political career.
* "Salt of the Earth" (1954), Monday, April 13, 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Jacqueline Hidalgo, Williams College associate professor of Latina/o studies and religion. Based on the 1950 strike by zinc miners in New Mexico, this little-seen classic tells the story of Mexican-American workers protesting unsafe work conditions and unequal wages compared to their Anglo counterparts. Ramon Quintero helps organize the strike, but he is shown to be a hypocrite by treating his pregnant wife, Esperanza, with the same unfairness the company bosses show him. When an injunction stops the men from protesting, women find themselves on the picket lines while the men stay at home, undermining traditional gender roles. This 1954 film, written, directed, and produced by three blacklisted filmmakers, features actual miners and their families in roles based on their own lives and experiences.
* "Norma Rae" (1979), Monday, April 27, 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be determined. Sally Field won an Oscar for her portrayal of Norma Rae, a young working class Southern woman struggling to get by. Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. After hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes the ire of her employers. Based on the true story of labor organizer Crystal Lee Sutton, Norma Rae has become the a labor organizing classic.
* "Hidden Figures" (2016), Monday, May 11, 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Haydee Lindo, Williams College assistant professor of mathematics. "Hidden Figures" tells the incredible untold story of Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — brilliant African-American women working at NASA in the 1960s who served as the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn. Before the advent of computers as we know them today, "computers" were people who did all of the math necessary to plan, build and design all that is involved in a outer space travel. Unheralded at the time, this visionary trio is now inspiring new generations across all genders and racial lines.