Movies, documentaries to provide jumping-off points for political discussions

Submitted by cleveland on Wed, 01/11/2017

Cinema Politique, a program which aims to introduce and discuss international and national political developments on the basis of documentaries and movies, will begin a trial run at the University of Georgia Jan. 18.

Led by Cas Mudde of the School of Public and International Affairs, and Mary Miller, Peabody Awards Collection archivist with the UGA Libraries, the series will draw largely from the vast Peabody Awards Collection, and will take place once a month. A UGA faculty member will introduce each film, lead a discussion afterwards and make additional reading suggestions. January’s selection is the 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

“My own teaching experiences have taught me that many students, particularly at institutions like UGA, learn better and more about many political phenomena when by and large abstract and theoretical academic texts are combined with documentaries or movies,” Mudde said. “This is particularly true for phenomena that are so far removed from their daily life, and limited life experience, that they literally cannot imagine it. This applies to many contemporary and historical phenomena outside of the US, ranging from Nazi Germany to child soldiers in Africa, but also in the U.S., from Jim Crow to the ‘War on Drugs.’”

During Spring Semester, movies will be shown the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Miller Learning Center. Mudde noted that, while the primary audience for the program is students, all members of the UGA and Athens communities are welcome to attend. He explained that this semester will be a trial run to work out structural and logistical issues.

“Each year we aim to have a good mix of national and international and documentaries and movies, addressing a broad range of topics and hopefully attracting a diverse audience,” Mudde said.

The Cinema Politique schedule for Spring Semester is:

  • Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, discussion led by Anthony Madonna of the department of political science.

When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Sen. Joseph Paine. However, Paine isn't as noble as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys' campsite where a more lucrative project could go. Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor.

  • TSOTSI (2005), discussion led by William Finlay, department of sociology.

A South African hoodlum named Tsotsi lives by a code of violence, and he and his gang of thugs prowl the streets of Johannesburg day and night, attacking those who fail to give them what they want. After casually shooting a woman and stealing her car, he discovers her baby in the back seat. Instead of harming the mewling infant, he takes it home and cares for it. The child acts as a catalyst for the hardened thug to regain his humanity.

  • INDIA’S DAUGHTER (2015), discussion led by Laura Zimmermann, departments of economics and international affairs.

The life and death of Jyoti Singh, an Indian medical student whose violation and murder by gang rapists exposed the violent misogyny of Indian society.

  • LA HAINE (1995), discussion led by Cas Mudde, department of international affairs.

When a young Arab is arrested and beaten unconscious by police, a riot erupts in the notoriously violent suburbs outside of Paris. Three of the victim's peers, Vinz, Said and Hubert, wander aimlessly about their home turf in the aftermath of the violence as they try to come to grips with their outrage over the brutal incident. After one of the men finds a police officer's discarded weapon, their night seems poised to take a bleak turn.

 

 

 

 

 

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