Zoom Salon - Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes | Mechanics' Institute

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Zoom Salon - Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Friday, February 12, 2021 - 6:00pm


CinemaLit Film Series

February 2021 – Black Lives on Film 2

CinemaLit is featuring four recent films in celebration of Black History Month. Two powerful documentaries, Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart (2017) and Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013), examine the lives and work of two history making African American women, one in the arts and humanities, the other in law and justice. Two feature films this month, Oscar winner Moonlight (2016) and indie charmer Miss Juneteenth (2020), are so good they give hope to the future of African American cinema.

CinemaLit is honored to welcome British-born and raised attorney and film critic Omar Moore as guest host for the February 12 discussion of Anita Speaking Truth to Power. Omar is founder of the film essay website The Popcorn Reel where "tasty film talk" is the order of the day. He is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle and a former contributing film critic for the PBS television program "Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies". He is the host of The Politicrat, a daily podcast that focuses on contemporary politics. He can be read in numerous places including Medium. Omar can also be found tweeting about film, politics, and more on Twitter: @thepopcornreel. For more information about Omar, please visit ebertpresents.com.

February 12 – Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes

In 1991, 35-year-old African American Department of Education attorney Anita Hill risked her reputation and career in sitting before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee of 14 white men. With extraordinary composure, she gave painful details of repeated episodes of sexual harassment perpetrated by Clarence Thomas, also African American and President George H. W. Bush's nominee to the U. S. Supreme Court. The results were much more than riveting political theater. It's now vividly clear that Hill's testimony ignited an ongoing national dialogue by women who have everything to lose in coming forward with charges of sexual harassment and assault leveled at very powerful men – from presidents and film industry executives, to entertainers and business leaders. The spirit behind the #MeToo movement echoes to Hill and beyond.

Anita Speaking Truth to Power producer-director Freida Lee Mock is one of today's leading documentary filmmakers. Her Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision follows the creator of the rule-shattering Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and won the Best Documentary Academy Award. Her fascination for documentary subjects is far reaching, from a children's choir to concentration camp survivor, political dynasty matriarch Rose Kennedy, actress Lillian Gish, and author Anne Lamott, among many others.

Anita Hill is an inspired subject for Mock's discerning and unobtrusive filmmaking style. We are given ample historical context and archival footage of the Senate hearings. We also see a later day Hill, now an author and professor at Brandeis University, reflect on her most public moments. Mock is also able to share a bit of the private Hill, born the youngest child of Baptist farmers in Oklahoma. The resulting Anita Speaking Truth to Power is a compelling look at a courageous woman at the heart of a critical moment in American history where politics, gender, race, and power intersected.


Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”



First watch the selected film on Kanopy. All you will need is either a Mechanics' Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation for our CinemaLit Salon as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom one day in advance, and then an additional reminder roughly two hours in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.

If you do not receive a Zoom Link by 4:00 PM on the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]


Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:

1. Click on  THIS LINK.

2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”

3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card

4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.

5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.

You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.

If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click  HERE  to join online:

Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.


Register with Eventbrite below.

If the green TICKET button is not immediately visible, scroll down on the right in the Eventbrite window until it appears.


CinemaLit Films

Members Free
Public Sliding Scale Free to $10
Register now ›
4th Floor Meeting Room
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling .

Future CinemaLit Films

Jan 22 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - La Roue (1923) 268 min
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Jan 29 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Modern Times (1936) – 88 minutes
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Feb 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart (2017) – 117 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 19 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Moonlight (2016) – 111 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 26 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Miss Juneteenth (2020) – 100 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Mar 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Heat and Dust (1983) – 130 minutes
March 2021 CinemaLit: Merchant Ivory from Page to Screen