The Rochester Contemporary, in collaboration with the Visual Studies Workshop, will present “Homeland Insecurity,” the second of three series of film screenings which deal with topical issues, promote independent voices, and reflect a part of our own community in Upstate New York. A selection of works on the current political state of mind will be shown on Feb. 6, 13, and 20, arranged by Pia Cseri-Briones, award-winning independent filmmaker, educator, and former New York Foundation for the Arts artist advisor. All screenings start at 7 p.m. and will be shown at the Visual Studies Workshop Auditorium at 31 Prince St. (wheelchair accessible). Suggested donation: $3 Rochester Contemporary members, $4 general public. For further information contact Elizabeth McDade at (585) 461-2222.
Thursday Feb. 6
“With Us Or Against Us: Afghans In America” by Kenneth Krauss and Mariam Jobrani (27 minutes / 2002)
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the late 1970s, many Afghans fled, leaving behind homes, possessions and sometimes family members. Those Afghans who took refuge in the United States came to treasure the freedom and economic opportunities offered by their new country. Many settled in Fremont, Calif., which became the center of a community of 15,000 exiled Afghans. “With Us or Against Us” follows several Afghan-Americans as they struggle to cope with the anti-Afghan sentiments in America, and the world.
“The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm” by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy (64 minutes/2001)
Ten years after Saddam Hussein launched his troops against Kuwait, “The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm,” a self-funded digital video-exposé, explores some of the more controversial questions of the war. Were all diplomatic means really utilized to try and resolve the issue peacefully? What are the facts behind “Gulf War Syndrome”? And, what are the alternative purposes behind the embargo against Iraq that still persists? The result of two years of investigating, “The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm,” narrated by actor John Hurt, uses documents never before seen on television, and interviews with prominent figures such as General Norman Schwarzkopf, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and former UN Iraq Program Director Dennis Halliday, among others, to answer these and other questions.
Thursday, Feb. 13
“Under the Skin Game” by Diane Nerwen (18 minutes /1996)
Visually and politically provocative, “Under the Skin Game” combines images from instructional films, 1950s melodrama, and the nightly news to show how the contraceptive implant Norplant is being used as an instrument of social control. Linking Norplant's prescription by state agencies to America's history of forced sterilizations and unethical Pill testing, Nerwen argues that a woman's right to control her reproductive destiny is still based on social status.
“Caught In The Crossfire: Arab-Americans In Wartime by David van Taylor and Brad Lichtenstein” (54 minutes / 2002)
Before September 11, 2001, New York City's Arab population was one among many immigrant groups making their way in the city: politically diverse; assimilated and separatist; Muslim, Christian, and fundamentalist; wealthy and working class; struggling and successful. But when two planes hijacked by Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center, the lives of this immigrant group changed within hours. Now, Arab-Americans are caught in the crossfire of President Bush's War on Terrorism. Centered in New York City, “Caught in the Crossfire” puts viewers in the shoes of three individuals, each of whom has had a particularly tricky road to navigate in recent months.
Thursday, Feb. 20
“Profit and Nothing But!” by Raoul Peck (52 minutes / 2001)
Who said that the economy serves mankind? What is this world where one third of the population, in the rich countries, or more precisely the wealthiest two percent in these countries, control everything? A world where the economy is law, where this law of the strongest is imposed on the rest of humanity? Why do we accept this cynical and immoral state of being? What happened to solidarity? And to the militants? These are the questions “Profit and Nothing But!” asks.
“First Kill” by Coco Schrijber (52 minutes / 2001)
A provocative documentary about war and the thin line between good and evil, “First Kill” compellingly brings out the contradictory feelings that war evokes – fear and anger, but also seduction, fascination and excitement. With “First Kill,” director Coco Schrijber intends to confuse the viewer. In a collage of image and sound, Schrijber juxtaposes confessional testimonies with images of young Vietnamese and foreigners who now visit the former killing fields of the Vietnam War as sites of tourism, conveying people's fascination with war and its memory. Tourists' camera snaps replace the horrifying photographs that remain as a testimony to the war, and Vietnamese artists reproduce in oil paintings of those same images, turning them from a silent documentary testimony into works of art.
This film series is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts-a state agency and the Visual Studies Workshop. Special thanks to Chris Burnett, Pia Cseri-Briones, Rich Della Costa, First Run/Icarus Films, Scot Gulbranson, Kristen Merola, Women Make Movies, and volunteers.