Programmed by Peter Forberg
The films in this series capture the increasingly volatile ways in which media can influence our daily lives. In the era of the 24/7 news cycle, where consumers are bombarded with an endless stream of news clips, tweets, notifications, and headlines alerting us of the latest political disaster, humanitarian crisis, or viral trend, it's important to take a step back and examine the power of the media. The selected films demonstrate media’s ability to start revolutions, quell uprisings, control behavior, and drive users crazy. They range from political satire to sci-fi thriller, but the films all share a prescient understanding of how the media will affect society. In the same fell swoop, director Sidney Lumet (Network) will have you laughing at the absurdity of TV news and mortified at how accurately he captures its need for gullible viewers. Meanwhile, Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames) demonstrates the injustice of having a voice in a world that refuses to listen, predicting the frustrating racism, classism, and sexism that persists nearly 40 years later. Even in Jake Gyllenhaal's caricature of the views-obsessed camera operator in Nightcrawler, there are all too realistic elements of popular culture's disturbed voyeurism that punctuates our newsfeeds without permission. This series asks viewers to think about the way in which we both consume and create content. Original film classics are put in conversation with new releases, providing a funny, terrifying, and relevant history of our media consumption.
(Sidney Lumet, 1976) · Network follows Howard Beale's (Peter Finch) transformation from struggling news anchor to TV oracle. His rise is orchestrated by producer Diana Christensen's (Faye Dunaway) tactics of sensationalism that disregard traditional broadcast standards. With its famous call to action--"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"--Network presents an absurd yet cutting critique of broadcast news, aided by failing marriages, communist militias, and a fervent live studio audience.
runtime: 121m format: Digital
(Dan Gilroy, 2014) · Nightcrawler's protagonist, a thief-turned-journalist played by Jake Gyllenhaal, presents a disturbed depiction of the voyeuristic news world. Armed with a camera, he seeks out the more horrendous crimes to be captured on tape and sold to the highest bidder. For the acting alone, Nightcrawler is a must-see thriller that takes to task the ways in which the contemporary culture's insatiable need for titillation can cause real damage.
runtime: 117m format: DCP
(Billy Wilder, 1951) · From acclaimed auteur Billy Wilder comes the out-there film noir Ace in the Hole, starring Kirk Douglas as a down-on-his-luck news reporter who devises a convoluted plan to capitalize on one man's newsworthy misfortunes. Originally a commercial and critical failure, Ace in the Hole has found new life within the modern media landscape, reiterating many of the messages of other films like Nightcrawler and Network in order to demonstrate America's perpetual lurid fascination with tragedy.
runtime: 111m format: DCP
(John Carpenter, 1988) · John Carpenter's cult classic They Live is perhaps best known for its iconic line, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." Following a drifter who discovers the world's ruling class are aliens, Carpenter's film presents a striking commentary on media manipulation, unchecked capitalism, commercialization, and the rising paranoia of middle Americans who increasingly distrust the global elite and political leaders of the world.
runtime: 94m format: 35mm
(James L. Brooks, 1987) · The only film in this series considered a romantic comedy, Broadcast News explores the world of news-making through a standard love triangle plot while granting the audience a deep look at the broadcasting industry. Balancing humor and personal narratives, Broadcast News hones in on the people behind the news. One such person is played by Holly Hunter, who delivers an unforgettable performance as a work-obsessed producer, apparently standard fare for leading women in this genre (see: Network).
runtime: 133m format: DCP
(Martin Scorsese, 1982) · Martin Scorsese’s dark comedy has experienced a resurgence in popular interest with the premier of its thematic heir, 2019 film Joker. The King of Comedy follows struggling and delusional comedian Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) as he schemes his way into the limelight. De Niro's remarkable performance is notably different from his famous role as an outcast in Taxi Driver: Pupkin doesn't fit the manic outsider trope, and instead is convinced that he is an inevitable celebrity, beloved by all.
runtime: 109m format: DCP
(Hal Ashby, 1979) · Now that an entire generation is being raised by YouTube videos, Being There is increasingly relevant. Chance (Peter Sellers) is a humble, quiet gardener whose entire knowledge of the world comes from what he has watched on TV. When forced to enter the real world, his knowledge of gardening, coupled with his simple speech, disguises his foolishness as wisdom. Poking fun at political slogans and political leaders, Being There is another prescient film about the world ruled by newsworthy clips.
runtime: 130m format: 35mm
(Pablo Larraín, 2012) · This Oscar-nominated historical fiction details the 1988 marketing campaign made to take down Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. With a cunning and passionate lead character played by Gael García Bernal, the film poses difficult questions about the ways in which political issues are framed and disseminated to the wider public. As a historical fiction, the film itself has been criticized for how it frames the movement, providing another layer of mediation to interrogate.
runtime: 118m format: 35mm
(Lizzie Borden, 1983) · Born in Flames presents a starkly different characterization of widespread political action in the United States, championing the mobilization of women to tackle entangled problems of sexism, classism, racism, and heteronormativity. It crafts a dangerous and captivating political imaginary, but it also reminds the audience that "the powers that be" are hard to topple. Let the revolution be born in flames. Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation
runtime: 79m format: 35mm (Rare print!)
(William Klein, 1977) · With the proliferation of personal vlogs, some of which have granted Internet couples celebrity status, The Model Couple returns as another prescient film, critiquing the intimacy of surveillance culture that is now self-imposed by social media. The film follows the "model couple" who are monitored by sociologists trying to create a more perfect society, but, as with most government experiments, a number of strange and unexplained changes in strategy results in a gripping satire about mass media.
runtime: 101m format: Digital