Three films selected for Auburn University at Montgomery’s (AUM) Spring 2020 Political Film Series will explore black culture, anti-Semitism and the contributions of women throughout American history.
The Political Film Series is sponsored by AUM’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and spotlights films that focus on pressing current events, anniversaries, and national and cultural holidays. For the spring series, showings will be held for the documentaries “Good Hair” in observance of Black History Month in February and “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” in celebration of Women’s History Month in March. In April, the series will host a showing of the film “Denial,” a Holocaust biographical drama, to address anti-Semitism in today’s society.
“Every year, we try to select films that will speak to our students, faculty, staff, and a broader audience — our community,” said Pia Knigge, assistant professor of political science and founder of the Political Film Series. “We hope these films will evoke reflection on the larger topics of diversity, inclusion and social justice while raising awareness, interest, and knowledge in these areas.”
Each film will be introduced by an AUM faculty or staff member with expertise in the area of the film’s subject area followed by a discussion and Q&A session with audience members. Showings — which include complimentary popcorn and drinks — are offered free to students, faculty, staff and the general public.
Films and faculty introductions for the 2020 Spring Political Film Series are as following:
“Good Hair” | Thursday, February 13 | 7 p.m. | 109 Goodwyn Hall
Introduction: Nicole Whitehead, chief human resource officer, and Breuna Baine, associate professor of fine arts. Whitehead has researched and written on how hair shapes women's identities, especially African-American women. Baine, whose family owned a barbershop in Montgomery, knows firsthand how such shops serve as important social and community spaces for African Americans.
A film in celebration of Black History Month in February. “Good Hair” addresses how throughout history hair has played an important role in African-American culture. A funny and entertaining documentary featuring actor and comedian Chris Rock, the film explores the wonders of African-American hairstyles by traveling the country to find out how black Americans define “good hair” and to shed some light on the industry behind black hair. Rock talks to ordinary people and celebrities (for example, Nia Long and Maya Angelou), visits a barber shop, a hair show, a factory that produces chemical hair relaxers, and India known for its hair trading industry.
“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” | Thursday, March 12 | 7 p.m. | 109 Goodwyn Hall
Introduction: Shirley Toland-Dix, assistant professor of English, is an expert in African-American literature and Caribbean literature. She has a forthcoming article on Toni Morrison and has taught her work extensively.
A film in honor Women’s History Month in March, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” is an intimate portrayal of the late Toni Morrison. The film provides the audience with deep insights into her career as a writer and as an editor, the personal experiences that shaped her career starting with her childhood in a working class neighborhood in Lorain, Ohio, and culminating in 1993 when she won the Nobel Prize for literature, an honor that has never been bestowed on an African-American writer. “’Pieces’ is not a traditional biography, but instead tracks an evolution: from literary iconoclast to stateswoman.” -- The Washington Post
“Denial” | Tuesday, April 21 | 7 p.m. | 109 Goodwyn Hall
Introduction: Eric Sterling, professor of English and a second-generation Holocaust survivor, researches and teaches literature classes on the Holocaust. He also has published extensively on the subject of the Holocaust.
“Denial” will be shown to highlight the current anti-Semitic climate, which entails those who downplay or unequivocally deny the Holocaust. In 1993, Deborah Lipstadt (portrayed by Rachael Weisz), a professor of Jewish Studies at Emory University, publishes “Denying the Holocaust” in which she identifies well-known World War II historian David Irving as “one of the most dangerous spokespersons” of the Holocaust denial movement. Irving sues Lipstadt for libel in the United Kingdom where the legal system dictates that the accused has the burden of proof. Therefore, Lipstadt and her lawyers have to prove that the Holocaust actually occurred. The film uses official trial records verbatim in the court scenes, and Rachel Weisz, together with a small film crew, receives permission to film at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where at least a million Jews died.