Masthead 13

Film Series Archive

Fall 2009

L’Iceberg ... Thursday, September 3
Tukey Theater, 7 p.m.
Directed by: Dominique Abel (Belgium)
Fiona is the manager of a fast-food restaurant. She lives comfortably with her family in the suburbs until one day she accidentally gets locked into a walk-in fridge. She escapes the next morning, half frozen and barely alive, only to realize that her husband and two children didn’t even notice she was missing. But when Fiona develops an obsession for everything cold and icy: snow, polar bears, fridges, icebergs – she drops everything, climbs into a frozen goods delivery truck and leaves home.

Beautiful Thing ... Thursday, October 15
Tukey Theater, 7 p.m.
Directed by: Hettie Macdonald (England)
The offbeat, underachieving denizens of a southeast London apartment building get an emotional wake-up call when two of the neighbors - two teen boys - unexpectedly fall in love. Tenderhearted kitchen-sink realism from Channel Four Films, adapted from the play by Jonathan Harvey. This screening is part of the annual campus celebration of National Coming Out Day and includes mature sexual themes, but the film’s central conflicts - coming of age, coming out, feeling exiled, finding love, and leaving the home of an abusive father - are expertly transformed into an exuberant affirmation of love and life.

Talk to Her ... Thursday, November 5
Tukey Theater, 7 p.m.
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar (Argentina)
After a chance encounter at a theater, two men, Benigno and Marco, meet at a private clinic where Benigno works. Lydia, Marco’s girlfriend and a bullfighter by profession, has been gored and is in a coma. It so happens that Benigno is looking after another woman in a coma, Alicia, a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters will flow in all directions, past, present and future, dragging all of them towards an unsuspected destiny. The communication gap between the sexes is not easily resolved when your partner is in a coma. Or is it?

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Ma Vie en Rose
Thursday, September 18
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater (tentative location)
"Ma Vie en Rose" is the story of Ludovic, a little girl born in a little boy's body. For him, nothing is more natural than to change his gender. As a hopeful and sensitive child, he truly believes that a miracle is going to happen. He will be a girl, no doubt about it, and he's in love with Jerome, his school mate, and son of his father's colleague. Initially a source of amusement, an outrage begins in their suburb when the two boys are discovered pretending to get married. The family begins to realize with horror that his desire to be a girl isn't just a little boy's fantasy. They try to make him change his mind, to no avail. The situation turns into a real-life drama of intense reactions from neighbors, friends, and teachers, resulting in a profoundly optimistic ending. 

Show Me Love
Thursday, October 16
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater (tentative location)
This intimate, almost verité-style feature is a refreshingly direct, seriocomic look at two Swedish teenage girls who fall in love.  In a small town called Amal, Elin (Alexandra Dahlstrom) and her high school friends are part of the "in-crowd." Elin is the popular school debutante, and she is the rage with all the boys on campus. Agnes (Rebecca Liljeberg) is not part of the "in-crowd," she is considered an outcast. Young and pretty, but unconcerned of her social status, Agnes is getting ready for a birthday party she doesn`t really want that is being planned by her parents. Nothing much happens in the small town of Amal until Elin accidentally goes to the wrong party and her life takes a new direction. On a dare, Elin kisses Agnes to see if Agnes really is a "lesbian" and her life is transformed. Elin discovers that she has been repressing something that was innately there all the time.  Swedish director Lukas Moodyson`s "Show Me Love" is a contemporary tale of longing, the joy and pain of being in love, the comical and heartbreaking aspects of growing up and the courage it takes to be different. It is a universal tale of love and understanding. 

I, Worst of All
Thursday, November 13
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater
This adaptation of a biography by Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz chronicles the struggles between noted 17th-century poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and the restrictions of the abbey where she lives and works as a nun.  Asked to give up her writing as a show of feminine humility, Sor Juana resists at first, but then descends into a dark night of the soul from which she emerges not only humbled but in some ways broken.  Marketed as a story of forbidden passion between Sor Juana and the local Vicereine, her Inquisition-era protectress, the film is more accurately described by reviewers as “visual poetry” that tells the story of Latin America’s first major female poet—“Mexico’s tenth muse” (a reference to Sappho)—and demonstrates the destructive impact of conservative gender roles on the spirit of a woman artist. Dr. June Carter and student leader Erin Hudson will facilitate the talkback after the screening of the film. 

In the Mood for Love
Thursday, February 12
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater
Kar Wai’s "In the Mood for Love" is a romance melodrama, which tells the story of a married man (played by Tony Leung) and a married woman (played by Maggie Cheung), living in rented rooms of neighboring apartments, who fall in love with each other while grappling with the infidelities of their respective spouses whom they discover are involved with each other. The two protagonists are thrown together into an uncertain affair which they appear not to consummate, perhaps out of social propriety or ethical concerns. As Maggie Cheung's character says: "We will never be like them!" (referring to the off-screen but apparently torrid affair of their respective spouses). The affair between Cheung and Leung assumes an air of mystique touched by intuitions of fate and lost opportunity: is it a Platonic relationship based on mutual consolation and sadness arising out of the betrayal of their spouses? Is it love? Is it desire? Did they sleep together? Such ambiguity stems from the postmodern lining of the picture (its look as processed by Wong's usual collaborators, the cinematographer Chris Doyle and art director William Chang), which is more in line with Wong Kar-wai's reputation as a cool, hip artist of contemporary cinema. 

Summer Storm
Thursday, March 19
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater
Tobi and Achim, the pride of the local crew club, have been the best of friends for years and are convinced that nothing will ever stand in the way of their friendship. They look forward to the upcoming summer camp and the crew competition. As Achim's relationship with his girlfriend Sandra, who is on the girls’ team, grows more and more serious, Tobi starts to realize that his feelings for Achim run much deeper than he's willing to admit to himself. He feels confused, unsure of himself and increasingly left out by his friend Alex and the team. When Sandra's best friend Anke shows her interest in Tobi, his anxiety starts to grow. When it turns out that the much-anticipated Berlin girls' team has been replaced by a team of athletic, cliché-bursting young gay men, Tobi and his teammates are suddenly forced to grapple with their prejudices, their fears, and, perhaps, their hidden longings. As the tension grows, Tobi, Achim and the others head towards a confrontation as fierce and liberating as the summer storm that's gathering over the lake. And Tobi realizes he has to start facing some facts about himself he didn't dare to face before.  A sensitively drawn, Munich- and Montreal-festival-award-winning story about the complexities of growing up, by the director of Trade. 

Monsoon Wedding
Thursday, April 2
7:00-8:00 p.m., Tukey Theater
Born in New Delhi and educated at Harvard, filmmaker Mira Nair has brought the world her personal rendition of a Bollywood movie. In a thirty-day shoot, with a budget just under $1.5 million dollars, Nair weaves together five plots lines, sixty-eight actors, three languages, cartloads of marigolds, love, laughter, incest, sorrow, potentially gay sons and constantly ringing cell phones into one sprawling film. Much like Robert Altman's class-conscious Gosford Park, Nair's ensemble drama takes an upstairs/downstairs look at a contemporary Indian, upper middle class household. In addition to the wedding party's frantic efforts, "Monsoon Wedding" tells the comic story of the budding romance among the servants who weather proof the tents, serve the food, and arrange the flowers.  Beneath this surface of comedy and melodrama, a dark family secret looms, challenging audiences to think about the upsides and downsides of family tradition. 

Fall 2007: Fall for the New ‘F’ Word: A Feminist Film Series

Feminism has become the new “f” word in contemporary American culture. Few women want to be called a feminist. Even fewer self-identify as feminists. Why has this movement for social justice been stigmatized and dismissed as passé? Feminist activists have transformed the conditions of women’s lives and continue to pose challenging questions about the social organization of power as it divides along gender lines. The wide gap between public perceptions of feminism and what feminism really is, and what it does, provides the point of departure for this new film series. 

As part of Upstate Feminists’ commitment to raising consciousness on campus about the relevance of feminism to college-age men and women, “Fall for the New ‘F’ Word,” showcases several recent films from a feminist perspective on a range of topics—abstinence-only education, abortion, sex work, and gender-bending—in order to prompt conversation on some of the most pressing questions of our day.

For six weeks in a row, Upstate Feminists will host a screening of a film and facilitate audience discussion afterwards. The series will run from September 6 through October 10. Screenings will be in Tukey Theater from 7 to 9 p.m. and free pizza will be provided in Hodge 155 prior to each film. We hope that by the time October 10 rolls around, the whole campus will fall for the new “f” word by embracing feminism in their everyday lives.

September 6: The Education of Shelby Knox
September 13: I Was a Teenage Feminist
September 20: I Had an Abortion (view slideshow)
September 27: Live Nude Girls Unite!
October 4: FtF: Female to Femme
October 10: Paris is Burning

September 6: The Education of Shelby Knox
Upstate Feminists hosts "Fall for the New 'F' Word"—a feminist film series—starting with the documentary, "The Education of Shelby Knox." This documentary records the experiences of Texas teenager Shelby Knox as she becomes an activist in her hometown, advocating for comprehensive sex education in the public schools instead of the abstinence-only curriculum currently in place. Shelby struggles with the conflicts between her beliefs and that of her parents and her youth pastor as she works on this issue. 

The screening will be followed by a discussion, led by Upstate Feminist president Erica Horne and faculty advisor Lisa Johnson, about the issue of abstinence-only sex education, as well as Shelby's efforts to reconcile the religious teachings of her youth pastor with her feminist activism. Because South Carolina also legislates an abstinence-only sex education curriculum, this screening will be of particular interest to education majors and faculty members.


September 13: I Was a Teenage Feminist
Upstate Feminists continues with its new film series, "Fall for the New 'F' Word," with the documentary, "I Was a Teenage Feminist."  The film asks some very pressing questions: When did feminism become a bad word? Why is it that young independent, progressive women in today's society feel uncomfortable identifying with the F-word? Join filmmaker Therese Shechter as she takes a funny, moving and very personal journey into the heart of Feminism on the threshold of the 21st century.

Armed with a video camera and an irreverent sense of humor, Therese talks with feminist superstars, rowdy frat boys, liberated Cosmo girls and Radical Cheerleaders, all in her quest to find out whether feminism can still be a source of personal and political power. With music by Ani DiFranco, Lavababy, Gina Young, Moxie Starpark and the legendary Helen Reddy, "I Was A Teenage Feminist" redefines the F Word for a new generation. The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Upstate Feminists president Erica Horne and faculty advisor Lisa Johnson. If you have ever entertained the thought, "Feminism—what's the point?" or if you have ever uttered the words, "I'm not a feminist, but . . .," then this screening is for you. 


 September 20: I Had an Abortion
1.3 million women get abortions each year in the U.S. alone. For most it is a secret. The debate itself is loud and paralyzing while the voices of the women who get abortions are submerged. Underneath the din of politicians posturing about "life" and "choice," beyond activists yelling about murder and rights, there are the stories of women who have had abortions.

Upstate Feminists continues its new film series, "Fall for the New 'F' Word," with the controversial documentary, "I Had an Abortion," produced by well-known third wave feminist leaders Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich. The documentary features 10 women, ages 21 to 85, telling their abortion experience. The film cuts across race, religion, region, class, sexuality and politics—demonstrating that abortion affects all women. The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Upstate Feminists president Erica Horne and faculty advisor Lisa Johnson. 

Abortion is one of the most contentious subjects in American culture, but the difficulty of discussing it must not prevent us as a university community from pursuing a civil and informed dialogue about it. As part of the Upstate Feminists' mission to raise awareness on campus about the relevance of feminism to college-age men and women, this screening honors the long history of feminist activism in favor of reproductive rights for women.     


September 27: Live Nude Girls Unite!
In the summer of 1996, the workers at the Lusty Lady in San Francisco became the first group to ever try to unionize peepshow workers.  Because of the stigma against sex work, most people do not believe that these women deserve the same rights to a safe and fair workplace as other laborers in nonstigmatized fields.  However, the struggles that these women—many of whom are graduate students, social workers, and artists trying to make ends meet—confront in the workplace over wages, racially biased scheduling practices, and adequate protection from aggressive customers clearly demonstrate the need for labor organization. 

In "Live Nude Girls Unite!," filmmaker Julia Query, whose mother is a well-known figure in the women's movement against sex work, documents the process of trying to unionize the Lusty Lady in a David and Goliath story where young women face off against union-busting corporate lawyers. Shot on a variety of formats, "Live Nude Girls Unite!" weaves backstage and dancing footage with labor organizing, street protests, stand-up comedy and comic-book style "animation" making an intelligent and dramatic cutting-edge film. The topics of workers' rights and feminist debates around sex work, sexism, and stigma continue to shape the women's movement today.  Upstate Feminists continues its new film series, "Fall for the New 'F' Word," with this screening of "Live Nude Girls Unite!" 


October 4: FtF: Female to Femme
Is there more than one kind of "femininity?"  What is the difference between traditional femininity and alternative femininities? Within the lesbian community, how does "femininity" get transformed into a "femme" identity? Some feminist theorists have written about "femme" identity as a radical revision of femininity, while others see "femme" as an acceptance of the gender status quo (a la "lipstick lesbians").

For years, femmes have forged community and created space for themselves out of edgy performance and authentic parody. "FtF" recognizes these strategies and builds them into an unforgettable sexy, funny and moving film. Upstate Feminists continues its new film series, "Fall for the New 'F' Word," with this screening of the documentary, "FtF: Female to Femme." 


October 10: Paris is Burning
In celebration of National Coming Out Day, Upstate Feminists completes its new film series, "Fall for the New 'F' Word," with a screening of the classic documentary, "Paris Is Burning."  In this documentary of 'drag nights' among New York's underclass, drag queens are interviewed and observed preparing for and competing in many drag queen balls to see who can "vogue" the best. This unblinking behind-the-scenes story presents these raucous celebrations as a powerful expression of personal pride despite the larger social context of racial, socioeconomic and sexual bias.

Upstate Feminists and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies is pleased to present this documentary as well because of its role as a cornerstone document in Judith Butler’s groundbreaking theory of gender performativity. We are all, Butler argues, in drag every day, and these drag queen performances help make the artificiality of our own daily gender performances visible.


Our Director

Lisa Johnson, Ph.D.
Office: CASB 124
Phone: 864-503-5724

Contact Us

USC Upstate
Center for Women's and Gender Studies
CASB 120
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Phone: 864-503-5926
Fax: 864-503-5351