Friday, February 19, 2021 - 6:00pm
IN CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
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.
February 19 – Moonlight (2016) – 111 minutes
It's not even five years old, but Moonlight already feels like a modern classic, and one of the Academy's better twenty-first century choices for the coveted Best Picture statuette.
Moonlight is a coming-of-age film like no other. It follows the maturation of Chiron, a lonely African American boy growing up in a drug and crime infested neighborhood of Miami. The film is segmented into three chapters – childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.
As conceived by director-screenwriter Barry Jenkins from the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight achieves the near impossible. It is deeply lyrical while remaining fully grounded in harsh realism. It captures those moments in life that could either be insignificant or cauterized in the brain forever. Its characters are infused with complexity, enduring abuse and neglect, but savoring life's transient joys. It refuses to peddle stereotypes, lazy film expectations, or bathetic outcomes.
Mahershala Ali scored an Oscar as a drug dealer who becomes surrogate father to Chiron, but the entire cast works at the same high level. The three-part structure allows the actors to shine, including Oscar nominee Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, André Holland, and Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes as Chiron at various ages. Wrote A. O. Scott in The New York Times: "Moonlight is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music, and vivid human faces."
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.”
INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING THE CINEMALIT SALON
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.
Future CinemaLit Films
Feb 5 - 6:00pm
Feb 12 - 6:00pm
Feb 26 - 6:00pm