Artist Reception with Lucy Rollins — January 27, 2017 5 PM
Prints and original work will be available for sale. Meet the artist!
Lucy Rollins' fascination with the potential for small units to collect into a larger form is one of her artistic inspirations. Her ink drawings are results of her enjoyment of repetitive, detailed work, and her affinity for organic shapes.
Wednesday, February 8 at 7pm
MAJOR! explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years.
Starring: Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Miss Major is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply “Mama” to many in her community. Her personal story and activism for transgender civil rights intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. At the center of her activism is her fierce advocacy for her girls, trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons.
MAJOR! is more than just a biographical documentary: It’s an investigation into critical issues of how the Prison Industrial Complex represents a wide-spread and systematic civil rights violation, as well as a historical portrait of diverse LGBT communities, told with love and humor, and personalized through the lens of a vibrant and charismatic woman. Through first-person narration and innovative visual story telling, MAJOR! seeks to create a living, breathing history of a community's struggle and resilience, as seen and experienced by those who lived it.
At the heart of MAJOR! is a social justice framework that puts the subjects at the center of their story. MAJOR! was produced in collaboration with Miss Major, the film’s participants, and a transPOC Community Advisory Board to ensure that these stories, which are so often marginalized, exoticized, or played for tragic drama, retain the agency and humanity of those who tell them.
- Director: Annalise Ophelian
- Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
This is the story of one woman's journey, a community's history, and how care for each other can be a revolutionary act.
This film is presented by the Williams College Davis Center as part of their year-long Social Change Film Series.
Williams College French Film Festival
Mondays, February 13 through 27 at 7pm
School Stories: Diversity and Adversity in New French Film
Titled “School Stories: Diversity and Adversity in New French Film,” this year’s Williams College French Film Festival examines the challenges facing students and teachers both in and beyond the classroom. From immigrant children in the primary schools of Paris, to students of color in the secondary schools of Strasbourg, to student activists in the universities of France, these films dramatize the potential benefits and difficulties of French education, where teachers and students must negotiate the complexities of integration and assimilation, authority and resistance, faith and belief, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity.
Amid recent debates this year in both France and the United States on immigrants and refugees, misogyny and homophobia, racism and violence, these films serve as both cautionary tales and exemplary models for tolerance and intolerance in the classroom. Between the American presidential elections last fall and the upcoming French presidential elections this spring, we hope that this film festival on classroom diversity and adversity will encourage discussion and debate on the role of schools and education in France and beyond.
La cour de Babel / The School of Babel
School of Babel follows a year in a Paris schoolroom for children who have recently immigrated to France. Using a surprisingly intimate fly-on-the-wall style, Julie Bertucelli’s documentary gives us unforgettable glimpses into the lives of tweens and teens from Mauritania, Serbia, Venezuela, Rumania, Senegal, Libya, Ireland, Brazil, and China, children who have come to France for reasons ranging from studying violin at the Paris conservatory to escaping genital excision.
The film’s triumph is in its remarkably succinct manner of creating complex portraits of the children and capturing the diversity of their experience. While School of Babel is full of incidental insights into French immigration policy and various headline-grabbing sociopolitical situations, the focus remains squarely in the classroom and on the children as individuals wrestling with a new language and a new culture (their heroic teacher primarily remains an off-screen presence).
The film builds to a powerful climax when it comes time for the children to tearfully say goodbye to each other and their teacher; while their sadness is heartbreaking, it is also an uplifting sign that shared experience trumps cultural difference. In an age of resurgent uneasiness with all that is foreign, School of Babel is a powerful antidote to fear and suspicion and an inspiring source of hope for France and the world.
- Director: Julie Bertucelli
- Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
“Straightforward, affecting and insightful.”
– The Hollywood Reporter
La Belle Saison/ Summertime
Starring: Cécile de France, Izïa Higelin, Noémie Lvovsky, Kévin Azaïs
It’s 1971 and Delphine, the only child of a farming couple in the Limousin, stuns her rural community by moving to Paris to go to university. Once in the city, she quickly gets swept up in the feminist movement and falls in love with the sophisticated activist Carole. But when her father has a heart attack, Delphine must return to help her mother on the farm—and Carole follows.
Through the love story between two women who must struggle not only against homophobia but class divisions, Catherine Corsini’s Summertime presents a gripping portrait of an age of political and social ferment, pungently bringing to life the political and social movements familiar to contemporary viewers through the work of the great French thinkers of the last half century.
But as its title indicates, Summertime also has a lightness befitting both the newfound freedoms and occasional zaniness of the urban seventies and a timeless, tender idyll in the countryside. In this respect, the film strikes an interesting contrast with Abdellatif Kechiche’s 2013 Palme d’Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color, another love story between two women from different backgrounds. Where Kechiche took a formalist, nearly anthropological approach to depicting sex between two women, Corsini shows her characters together in a relaxed manner that has the ring of authenticity—and suggests that love is love, no matter who is doing the loving.
- Director: Catherine Corsini
- Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Genre: Drama
“Insists that female desire can be understood only in relation to the larger social question of women’s freedom. This is still a radical proposition, in France and elsewhere.”
– New York Times
Qu’Allah bénisse la France! /May Allah Bless France!
Starring: Marc Zinga Sabrina Ouazani Larouci Didi
May Allah Bless France! is the invigorating first feature by acclaimed French rapper and novelist Abd Al Malik, a coming-of-age story and redemption tale based on the writer-director’s own youth in the beleaguered projects of Strasbourg. The film follows the struggles of Régis, a budding rapper who relies on petty crime to fund his passion for music. But as his fellow musicians get lured into drug dealing, teenage Régis finds salvation in the classics of French literature and his conversion to Sufi Islam.
While Abd Al Malik’s edifying hymn to education and tolerance is first and foremost a boldly idealistic statement, it is also a profoundly satisfying cinematic experience, shot in high-contrast black and white and full of powerful stylistic devices that break with convention to heighten the impact of everyday violence and injustice. Fluidly adapting his talents as a storyteller to the screen, Abd Al Malik revisits the “banlieue film”—the sub genre of films dealing with restless youth in France’s tough suburbs, launched by Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine in 1995—not only to give an insider’s update, but to break with the genre’s suffocating pessimism. In these challenging times for France, and particularly for French Muslims, this intelligent and accessible call for a potential way forward is nothing short of essential viewing.
- Director: Abd Al Malik
- Runtime: 1 hour 36 minutes
- Genre: Drama
This festival is made possible with the generous support of the Williams College Department of Romance Languages, the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and the Dively Committee for Human Sexuality and Diversity. The festival was co-organized by Jane Canova of the Center for Foreign Languages and French Professor Brian Martin who will introduce the films. All films are in French with English subtitles, and are free and open to the public. Images Cinema is located at 50 Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. For more on these films and screenings, see: http://imagescinema.org and http://cfllc.williams.edu.
Fresh Fest 2017
Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5
Friday, March 3 at 7pm: Forgotten Farms, with filmmakers David Simonds and Sarah Gardner. Film will be followed by a reception at The Log.
Saturday, March 4 at 2:30pm: A Small Good Thing with producer Paula Kirk.
Saturday, March 4 at 4:30pm: Peter and the Farm.
Sunday, March 5 at 12:30pm: Seed: The Untold Story.
Starring: Win Chenail, Louis Escobar, Carl Sweet
Forgotten Farms examines class divides in our farm and food communities. Most people buy their food in supermarkets and don’t have a chance to meet their farmer. But in more affluent communities, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer's markets and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated.
Meanwhile New England has lost over 10,000 dairy farms in the past 50 years; fewer than 2,000 farms remain. Collectively, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. In our enthusiasm for the new food movement, we often overlook the farmers at the foundation of the regional agricultural economy. As we strive to revive local production, we have much to learn from dairy farmers who have been managing most of the farmland and sustaining the farm economy all along. Through conversations with farmers and policy experts, the film reconsiders the role of these vital but forgotten farmers. A truly sustainable local food system that benefits everyone will rely on all of our farmers.
- Director: David Simonds
- Runtime: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
A Small Good Thing
For the longest time, we’ve been living as though the more we have—the more money, the more goods, the more territory—the happier we’ll be. Surprisingly, over the last fifty years as our standard of living has improved, our happiness has not. A Small Good Thing examines how our ideal of the American Dream has come to the end of its promise. The film tells the stories of people moving away from a philosophy of ‘more is better’ toward a more holistic conception of happiness — one based on a close connection to their bodies and health, to the natural world, and to the greater good.
This feature-length documentary is set in western Massachusetts in the Berkshires, long a destination for change-seekers, spiritual explorers, artists, and musicians seeking solace and stimulation amid the pastoral landscape — the perfect setting for a story about renewing personal and universal bonds. The film follows innovative farmer Sean Stanton, social work student Tim Durrin and yoga teacher Mark Gerow, whose earlier careers in the armed forces have now shifted to service of a different kind; Jen and Pete Salinetti, a college-educated couple with two small children who have chosen to be farmers as a way to connect with their community; and Shirley Edgerton, community activist and founder of both the Youth Alive Step Team and the Women of Color Giving Circle. What these people share is a deep desire to have more meaning in their lives, a closer bond with their families and communities, and a connection to themselves and the natural world.
- Director: Pamela Tanner Boll
- Runtime: 1 hour 11 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
“If you’re disillusioned by the American Dream and fascinated by people who’ve found their own unique path to happiness, I highly recommend you check it out.”
– Tiny Buddha
Peter and the Farm
Starring: Peter Dunning
Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 idyllic acres in Vermont. The land's 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death.
- Director: Tony Stone
- Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
“It is the film’s cosmic dimension that makes it so special. To borrow the title of a Tom Wolfe novel, Mr. Dunning is “a man in full,” by turns majestic and cantankerous, and unafraid to look into the void and to ask the deepest, most personal questions about the purpose of life. As the camera surveys the glorious landscape of rural Vermont with the same dispassion that it focuses on a cow defecating, the film evokes the natural world with a grand poetic awareness of the primal connectedness of things. From the rapturous to the gross, you can’t have one without the other.”
– New York Times
Seed: The Untold Story
Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds -- worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. This documentary follows passionate seed keepers who are protecting a 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94 seed varieties have disappeared. A cadre of 10 agrichemical companies, including Syngenta, Bayer, and Monsanto, controls over two-thirds of the global seed market, reaping unprecedented profits. Farmers and others battle to defend the future of our food.
- Director: Taggart Siegel, Jon Betz
- Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
- Genre: Documentary
This festival is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Festival Fund, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies, Zilkha Center, and Storey Publishing.
Saturday, March 11 and 12
Saturday, March 11 at 2pm - English dubbed version
Sunday, March 12 at 12pm & 8pm - In Japanese with English subtitles
The 12pm show on Sunday, March 12, will be followed by a discussion with Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Clark Art Institute.
From award-winning director Keiichi Hara (Colorful) and Japanese powerhouse Production I.G (creators of Ghost in the Shell) comes a remarkable story of the daughter behind one of history’s most famous artists.
As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the revered painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. Shy and reserved in public, in the studio O-Ei is as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite this fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. Miss Hokusai‘s bustling Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her demanding father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this sumptuously-animated coming-of-age tale.
- Director: Keiichi Hara
- Rating: PG-13
- Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Genre: Animation, Drama
“In its ruminations on artistic tradition, creation, and vision, Miss Hokusai is something close to a minor masterpiece.”
– The Film Stage
This film is presented in partnership with the Clark Art Institute, where Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Collection is on view through April 2.