Set against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League university where racial tensions bubble just below the surface, Dear White People is a send-up of the now post “post-racial” America that weaves together a universal story of finding one’s own identity and forging a wholly unique path. The satirical series — based on the acclaimed 2014 film by the same name — continues to follow a group of Winchester University students of color as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural bias, political correctness (or lack thereof) and activism in the millennial age. Through an absurdist lens, Dear White People utilizes biting irony, self-deprecation and sometimes brutal honesty to hold up a mirror to the issues plaguing society today, all the while leading with laughter.
Seeing Ourselves in Film continues a conversation we began last Fall during the John Sayles’ Independent Director series: “what does it mean to be an American?”
This Winter and Spring we will look at one film from each decade 1940’s – 2010’s. We will ask ourselves:
How does Hollywood depict Americans in this film?
What happened during this decade which helped create this film?
Does Hollywood influence or reflect changes in culture? Or both?
Indie film, Certain Women boasts a powerful female cast featuring Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, and Lily Gladstone. From Film Science,
The lives of three woman intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail. Based on stories by Maile Meloy.
Need an escape from the cruel world? Nothing better than tapping into a 21st Century version of the Archie Comics. The CW’s Riverdale boasts the original cast of characters with a decidedly murder-mystery bent. Join Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Josie (and her Pussycats), and Kevin Keller as they tackle the mysteries of their small town. Oh and the parents are all played by known actors – many from 90’s TV shows. Lots of fun.
In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling?
Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.
Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, this seven-part limited series is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, for which he received an editing Oscar nomination; Wild; Demolition), Big Little Lies is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, LA Law, The Practice and Ally McBeal; Goliath).
The stellar cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Santiago Cabrera, P.J. Byrne and Virginia Kull.
Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory not only follows up the huge hit, Finding Nemo. It literally blows its competition out of the water. With over 1 billion dollars grossed domestically, watch it for the first time or watch it again and again. It’s adorable, it’s Disney, it’s a modern classic.
Discover Finding Dory in our library catalog.
Whit Stillman’s new period drama, Love & Friendship stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny. From Westerly Films,
Beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and a future for her eligible but reluctant daughter, Frederica. In doing so she attracts the simultaneous attentions of the young, handsome Reginald DeCourcy, the rich and silly Sir James Martin and the divinely handsome, but married, Lord Manwaring, complicating matters severely.
New film, The Man Who Knew Infinity based on a true story. From IFC Films,
Written and directed by Matthew Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity is the true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Ramanujan (Dev Patel), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he forged a bond with his mentor, the eccentric professor GH Hardy (Jeremy Irons), and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world.
The new Sally Field film, Hello, My Name is Doris arrives on DVD and the critics love it. From Rotten Tomatoes,
When Doris Miller meets John Fremont, her company’s hip new art director, sparks fly-at least for Doris. In the cluttered house she shared with her late mother, Doris mines the Internet for information on her one-and-only, guided by the 13-year-old granddaughter of her best pal Roz. When Doris begins showing up at John’s regular haunts, she wins over his Williamsburg friends. Her new life brings Doris a thrilling perspective, but also creates a rift between her and her longtime friends and family, who believe she’s making a fool of herself over a guy half her age. Eager for all the experiences she has missed out on, Doris throws caution to the wind and follows her heart for the very first time.
Easy Rider recently got remastered and released by Criterion. We didn’t own a copy so we added the newly minted classic to our collection. From Roger Ebert’s website,
But it’s hard to identify with the Fonda and Hopper characters. So Hopper and his co-writers Fonda and Terry Southern write in a brilliant character, Old George (played magnificently by Jack Nicholson). And when this alcoholic, tragic ACLU lawyer from a small Southern town enters the picture, suddenly that’s us there on the bike with Fonda. And the movie starts to work.
If you follow the story closely in “Easy Rider,” you find out it isn’t there. The rough-cut of the movie reportedly ran over three hours, and Hopper edited it to a reasonable length by throwing out the story details and keeping the rest. So the heroes are suspended in an invisible story, like falcons on an invisible current of air. You can’t see it, but it holds them up.
All of this divests a motorcycle movie of its weak point (the story) and develops its strong point (the role of the self-proclaimed rebel in a conformist society). It’s not just bike freaks who get in trouble when they challenge the establishment — it’s everybody, even Old George.
And yet, “Easy Rider” suggests, it’s not as simple as that. We almost forget that the Fonda and Hopper characters have also sold out.
Does it hold up? Are you watching it for the first time?
Find Easy Rider in the library’s catalog.