Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
From 93106, the UCSB Faculty/Staff newsletter:
MCC Presents First Public Screening of Professor’s New Film on Mothering
By Andrea Estrada
“Birthright: Mothering Across Difference,” a film by Celine Parreñas Shimizu, associate professor of Asian American studies, will have its first public screening at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, in the MultiCultural Center Theater.
The film features interviews with 50 women from diverse backgrounds, all of whom live in the Santa Barbara area and are raising young children who range in age from newborn to four years. Whittled down from over 42 hours of footage, the film intersperses individual interviews with those of small and large groups of women who share the highlights and challenges of mothering. It explores how the act of mothering transforms womanhood, friendship, family, and home.
“When I had my first child, I faced some unexpected challenges to my personal and professional identity,” Shimizu, who is also an affiliated faculty member in the Departments of Film and Media Studies and Feminist Studies, said of new motherhood. “It changes your perspective on time, space, intimate relationships, even places.
“As we live in the moment where mothering is celebrated and idealized in popular culture, my film intervenes with a more complete story of the joy and pain of becoming a mother. Ultimately, I interrogate how mothering brings women together, as well as challenging existing institutions of family, marriage, work, and friendship.”
Women have traditionally been the primary caregivers for young children in the United States, but their needs often go unspoken in our society, she continued. “Women often have to go back to work after only three months or so, and it can be devastating for some of them. For working women who endure the challenge of work and parenting, sometimes the two don’t mix. The film opens up the need for society to develop a sustained vision for women and their children in ways that support their needs.”
The film juxtaposes women from varying socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and focuses on their similarities while acknowledging their differences.
“We see a wealthy woman speak immediately after a poor woman and we hear various women’s racial and ethnic experience,” Shimizu said. “And in opening their lives to each other and to us, connections are made. The film shows how mothers live in difference and mother differently while also sharing certain commitments. They don’t belittle each other’s worries and concerns.”
In the month since it was completed, “Birthright” has been screened in preview version at Ohio Wesleyan University. It will have its world premiere in the Reelheart Film Festival in Toronto on June 24.
“Birthright” is Shimizu’s fifth film. In 2002, she wrote, directed, edited, and co-produced the award-winning experimental documentary “The Fact of Asian Women.” Other films include “Super Flip”; “Her Uprooting Plants Her”; and “Mahal Means Love and Expensive.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From Reel Progress:
Reel Progress' Top 25 Progressive Films
February 19, 2008
These 25 films serve as cultural barometers; each of the films, in its own way, influenced public discourse and shed light on important progressive ideals such as workers’ rights, equality in education, civil rights, national security, the environment, and the betterment of our society as a whole.
This list is meant to spark debate about what films have had the greatest influence on our political identity. So read through the list, and then vote for your favorite progressive film!
12 Angry Men (1957)
What is supposed to be an open-and-shut case of murder becomes much more complicated as a jury is rendered deadlocked by one member’s “not guilty” vote. As the story unfolds, each character’s virtues, flaws, and prejudices are revealed as the defendant’s life hangs in the balance.
All the President's Men (1976)
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman portray the real-life Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they put everything on the line to uncover corruption at the highest levels of government during the Watergate scandal.
The American President (1995)
This Aaron Sorkin-penned romantic comedy highlights the politics of perception as President Andrew Shepard, a widower and a father, falls for an environmental lobbyist, which despite their best efforts, causes quite a controversy—much to the delight of Shepard’s political rivals.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play two men who fall in love in 1950s Wyoming. Over the course of two decades, their tortured love affair continues and neither is able to be open about his feelings for the other in the midst of a society that disapproves of their relationship.
A lowly private detective takes on the power structure in 1930s Los Angeles by slowly uncovering a vast conspiracy centering on water management, state and municipal corruption, land use and real estate, and murder.
Written and directed by Reel Progress favorite Paul Haggis, this Academy Award-winning drama takes a revealing look at racial and cultural tensions that exist within Los Angeles’ multicultural landscape. The film follows a diverse cast during a 36-hour period as their different paths collide, changing each of them forever.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Capping a decade of heightening racial conflicts throughout New York City, Do The Right Thing captures the tense atmosphere by taking us to Bed-Stuy, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, on the hottest day of the year.
Dr. Strangelove (or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb) (1964)
Released two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, this satirical farce follows the chain of reactions that unfold after an insane general deploys a squadron of bombers to attack the U.S.S.R.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
The story of real-life heroine Erin Brockovich, who went from being a down-on-her-luck, unemployed single mother to an intrepid legal assistant who uncovered a California power company’s history of polluting the city’s water supply and almost single-handedly brought them down.
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
David Strathairn takes an Oscar-nominated turn as Edward R. Murrow, the pioneering broadcast journalist who defied corporate and political pressure to expose the lies and scaremongering of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his anti-Communist hysteria in the early 1950s.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Based on the epic John Steinbeck novel, this film exposed the public to the migrant labor problem by following the Joad family’s hopeful journey to California in search of work during the Great Depression.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play a couple whose views are challenged when their daughter brings home a black fiancé. This groundbreaking film was released the same year interracial marriage was legalized throughout the United States, following the Loving v. Virginia case.
High Noon (1952)
Blasted by John Wayne, as “the most un-American thing [he]’d ever seen,” blacklisted co-screenwriter and producer Carl Foreman wrote this Western as an allegory for the cowardice endemic among intellectuals, as well as many of his Hollywood colleagues during the dark years of McCarthyism.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
This documentary gives audiences a glimpse into black life in the inner city. Made over five years, the film chronicles the lives of two African-American teenagers who dream of becoming college basketball players on their way to professional basketball stardom.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
What started out as a PowerPoint presentation led former vice president and longtime environmental advocate Al Gore to an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize for this wake-up call and rallying cry to protect the earth against the damaging effects of global warming.
Lean on Me (1989)
A driven principal goes to unprecedented lengths to save his school from being declared a failed academic institution. After being arrested and alienated from the community, the principal finds vindication when his students rally behind him and pass their minimum basic skills test.
Set in a small West Virginian town in 1920, coal miners strike and attempt to unionize in response to the abhorrent working conditions. The mine owners use threats, violence, and “scabs,” but a union organizer convinces the workers that forming a coalition would force the company to meet their demands.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart go for the heart in this story about a naïve idealist named Jefferson Smith who is appointed to serve in the U.S. Senate. It is not long before Smith starts ruffling the feathers of the corrupt political establishment, headed up by his own state’s intimidating political boss, Jim Taylor.
In this satire of the growing genre of “trash television,” Union Broadcasting Station axes its veteran anchor Harold Beale, citing low ratings. Beale announces his impending suicide on live national television, which makes him a ratings sensation and gets him his own show where he rails against corporate media, among other things.
No End in Sight (2007)
This documentary exposes the Bush administration’s massive missteps and a myriad of missed opportunities in those crucial first moments of the war in Iraq. Lack of experience and long-term planning have led to grave consequences for the United States and the stability of the Middle East.
Norma Rae (1979)
Sally Field won her first Oscar for Best Actress in the title role as a dependable and feisty young Southern textile worker who, in the face of potentially dangerous consequences, agrees to help unionize her mill.
Roger & Me (1989)
Michael Moore takes on the not-so-simple task of trying to get a meeting with then-CEO of General Motors Roger Smith in this breakthrough documentary that examines the economic devastation left in the wake of a GM plant closure in Moore’s hometown of Flint, MI.
Shut Up and Sing (2006)
This documentary about the Dixie Chicks follows the enormous backlash that the band faced—particularly from conservative groups, talk and country radio, and some members of their fan base—after lead singer Natalie Maines, made an off-hand criticism of George Bush at a London concert in 2003.
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
Building on the story of an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed, director Alex Gibney details the use of torture by U.S. military and intelligence forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, two children watch as their principled father, Atticus Finch, takes a stand against intolerance in the rural, segregated American South during the depths of the Depression by defending a young black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Check out these new titles just added to Progressive Films!
Representative politics in the Americas is in crisis. Citizens are now choosing to redefine democracy under their own terms: local, direct, and participatory.
Two nooses are left as a warning to black students trying to integrate their playground, fights break out across town, a white man pulls a shotgun on black students, someone burns down most of the school, the DA puts six black students on trial for attempted murder,and the quiet town of Jena becomes the site of the largest civil rights demonstration in the South since the 1960s.
Deserter is the journey of Ryan and Jen Johnson--a deserting soldier and his young wife--as they flee across the country to seek refugee status over the Canadian border.
The War of 33 is an intimate, personal and powerful telling of the story of the 2006 war in Lebanon. A series of letters written by Hanady Salman--a mother living through the war in Beirut--carve a narrative arc through the intense and haunting images of conflict.
In 1994, the Latin Kings--the largest and most powerful street gang in New York--became the Latin King and Queen Nation. They claimed to have abandoned their criminal past and to be following in the footsteps of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Click on: San Francisco: May Day 09 for more video reports from around the world.
VIDEO BY : MARNETTE FEDERIS AND STEPHANIA ROUSELLE FOR THE MAY DAY PROJECT.
Here Mission Local reporter Marnette Federis talk with May Day participants gathered at San Francisco's Dolores Park about what May Day means to them.
May Day Project:
In more than 140 countries, May 1 is celebrated as a workers’ holiday. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations and celebrations by hundreds of thousands of working people throughout the world. In the United States May Day has become a day to mobilize undocumented workers for immigration rights. Amanda Martinez and Alba Mora-Roca talked to observers in Russia, Venezuela, Mexico, China and elsewhere to find out how those celebrations differed according to geography.
Michael: "Indianapolis hotel workers are engaged in a struggle of historic proportions. There are no union hotels in the city. Housekeepers routinely clean 30-40 rooms per day for $7.25 an hour. Jobs are being outsourced every day while the conservative political establishment continues to give millions of tax dollars to these hotel corporations to come in, build their hotels, make lots of money, and then take the money back out of the city.
We've just put together a 10-min video documenting our workers' stories and some of the actions we've taken....it's a great look at what's possible in middle America when you build grassroots organizing teams of working people."