Labor Goes to the Movies

Labor Goes to the Movies, a committee of the Executive Council, plans and organizes the PSC’s long-running film series. As a committee, we select the annual theme and films, usually after spirited discussion, and arrange for a speaker with expertise in the film’s subject to lead discussion. The committee is open to all, and includes film studies faculty as well as members who just love movies. We meet during the spring and summer to choose the following year’s films and stays in touch by attending the screenings each month. In this, its 14th season, the series will explore the theme of "surveillance."

2016-2017 Film Series -- The Politics of Genre: Popular art forms have always relied on genres. The public determines which genres speak to it and artists channel their ideas into genre molds shaped by audience preferences. Genres result, then, from popular referendum. Consequently, genres are constantly examining deep cultural and political questions which lay at the core of genre’s appeal. Typically, genres develop conventions over time, and the longevity of a particular genre depends on the ability of the genre to adapt to cultural and political changes over time, as artists are constantly re-imagining conventions as they become stale and turn into clichés. This year, Labor Goes to the Movies looks at two of the most important film genres: the Western and the Film Noir. The Western has always confronted the tension between the individual and the community, as the Western setting exists on the edges of White civilization. Film Noir, essentially a post-WWII phenomenon, revolves around the anxiety triggered by the empowerment of women in the workplace and family during the war. The series seeks to follow the contours of these imaginaries.