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Bright Lights Continues with Spotlight on Social Issues

black and white photo of women holding signs in 1970s
A still from Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s 9 to 5: The Story of a Movement.

The Bright Lights Film Series picks up this week where it left off, continuing this year’s theme of social justice documentaries and delivery via virtual screenings and online discussions.

The series, which runs through April, opens with 9 to 5: The Story of a Movement, about a national labor movement started by a group of Boston secretaries in the 1970s. A special screening available Wednesday, January 27, at 7:00 pm and Thursday, January 28, at 6:30 pm, 9 to 5 will be followed by a discussion with protagonists Ellen Cassedy and Mary Jung on Thursday at 8:00 pm.

All other films will be screened for a 25-hour window beginning noon on Wednesdays, and will end with a live online discussion every Thursday at 8:00 pm. Registration takes place through the ArtsEmerson website and will stream to Cinesend. In order to facilitate more engagement with these conversations, everyone will have the option to join via Zoom and interact with guests directly.

This semester’s lineup also includes Visual and Media Arts Professor John Gianvito’s Her Socialist Smile, winner of 2020 Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics. The film explores Helen Keller’s advocacy on behalf of progressive causes, and uses text from her speeches, impressionistic images of nature, and voiceover recorded by poet Carolyn Forché. Gianvito will join a discussion of Her Socialist Smile on April 8.

See the Spring 2021 Bright Lights Film Series Lineup

For the past several years, the series has highlighted its commitment to inclusion by instituting a rating system that indicates films made by women (W), made by or featuring people of color (POC), feminist films (F), dealing with social justice themes (SJ), international films (I), LGBTQ films, films made by/featuring people with disabilities (D), and films made by an Emersonian (EC).

New in 2020, all films and conversations have closed captioning.

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