Michigan State University
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Film Collective
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FLM 200: THE MSU FILM COLLECTIVE

We are the professors, students, filmmakers, screenwriters, and cinéphiles at MSU who gather weekly in the course FLM 200 to watch and discuss good films. In the spirit of the Cinémathèque française and the generation of film critics and French New Wave directors it inspired, our collective abides by the principle that good film writing and good filmmaking (and just plain good living) begin with serious film watching.

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FALL 2018: WORK/PLACE

The films programmed for this semester’s Film Collective explore intersections of labor and location. As residents of Michigan we all live, study, and work in a place that has been profoundly shaped by the history of industrial work and the labor movement. Our location offers a point from which to engage films, from around the world, that address how places have been defined, constructed, destroyed, or transformed by changing forms of work and by migrations of workers. The films include examples of workers stuck in place, of workers dislocated by global flows of capital, of spaces defined by gendered labor or by populations of guest workers not protected by the rights of citizenship. Forms of labor examined by the films include factory and agricultural labor, but also domestic, affective, and intellectual labor. The films may also reflect on the work of filmmaking itself—particularly in the labor-intensive fields of animation and digital effects.
 
Please note that the screenings will be at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at B122 Wells Hall.
 

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9/6 9 to 5 (Colin Higgins, 1980)

Presented by Ellen McCallum

Pour yourself a cup of ambition and revel in the madcap workplace comedy 9 to 5. This 1980 film crested the second wave of feminism, as the decade 1970-1980 saw the the largest ever increase in women’s participation in the workforce, according to the US Census bureau. Ever attuned to the latest trends, Hollywood saw opportunity in the entertaining side of the very real obstacles women faced during this time. Gain new and creative insights into how to get ahead in the corporate world! Starring the incomparable combination of Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Detroit native Lily Tomlin.


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9/13 Faces Places (Agnes Varda and JR, 2017) 

Presented by Alexandra Hidalgo

Director Agnès Varda and photographer and muralist JR journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.


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9/20 Dor (Nagesh Kukunoor, 2006)

Presented by Sitara Thobani

Expanding upon themes of separation, loss, migration and gender, Dor (2006) draws attention to those aspects of contemporary migrant labour that are often overlooked. Based on true events, the film is about two women brought together after their husbands leave to work in Saudi Arabia. As their relationship unfolds, each must come to terms with the changes their new situation brings. Critically acclaimed, Dor was directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and features the award-winning cast of Ayesha Takia, Gul Panag and Shreyas Talpade. 


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9/27 The Solitary Life of Cranes (Eva Weber, 2008) and London (Patrick Keiller, 1994)

Presented by Lyn Goeringer

In The Solitary Life of Cranescrane operators high above a city observe the comings and goings of people. Patrick Keiller's London follows offscreen ex-lovers around London as they view the city in terms of 1992. 


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10/4 Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)

Presented by Mikki Kressbach

By day, Mike (Channing Tatum) makes ends meet any way he can — handyman jobs, detailing cars or designing furniture. But nighttime is when Mike really gets to display his many talents: He's the hot headliner in an all-male revue. Mike sees potential in a 19-year-old he dubs the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), takes the teen under his wing and instructs him in the tricks of the trade. However, Mike learns there's a downside to the stripper lifestyle when it threatens his romance with the Kid's sister.


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10/11 The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

Presented by Justus Nieland

In Wilder’s biting send-up of the culture of the midcentury office, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is an insurance clerk who loans out his apartment for his bosses’ extramarital trysts. When Baxter falls for the building’s elevator operator Fran Kubelik(Shirley MacClaine), he is forced to rethink his dreams of corporate advancement and their effect on his privacy. A brilliantly acted and moving romantic comedy about work-life imbalance and the quest for real intimacy. 


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10/18 Baran (Majid Majidi, 2001)

Presented by Ken Harrow

Baran is the story of Afghan refugees told through the eyes of an Iranian teenage boy named Lateef. His devotion to a person he barely knows leads him to the choice that will change his life forever. Academy Award nominated director Majid Majidi ("Children of Heaven"; "Color of Paradise") delivers a heartbreaking story of unrequited love.


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10/25 The Coca-Cola Kid (Dušan Makavejev, 1985)

Presented by Joshua Yumibe

Becker (Eric Roberts) is an American marketing expert working for the Coca-Cola Company. He is extremely dedicated to his work and travels the world pushing the product on as many places as he can. When he realizes that there is a part of Australia where absolutely nobody buys Coke, he vows to change that. But then he meets not only McDowell (Bill Kerr), a local entrepreneur who manufactures his own soda, but McDowell's beautiful daughter, Terri (Greta Scacchi), and everything changes. 


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11/1 Salt for Svanetia (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1930)

Presented by Michael Kunichika

As one of the earliest ethnographic films, it documents the life of the Svan people in the isolated mountain village of Ushguli in Svanetia.


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11/8 The Forgotten Space (Allan Sekula, 2010)

Presented by Lily Woodruff

 The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those alienated by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle.


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11/15 Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears (Vladimir Menshov, 1980)

Presented by Yelena Kalinsky

Living together in a workers' dorm, Katerina (Vera Alentova) and her friends are determined to make it in Moscow. But when a boorish cameraman (Juri Wassiliev) forces himself on her, Katerina finds herself pregnant and alone as her friends move on. Twenty years later, she's fought to become a factory director, outpacing her old roommates career-wise, but still alone but for her daughter. When she meets a genial mechanic (Aleksey Batalov), love seems possible again. 


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11/29 Un Coeur en Hiver (Claude Sautet, 1993)

Presented by Bill Vincent

Violin player Camille (Emmanuelle Béart) begins an affair with Maxime (André Dussollier), who is prepared to leave his wife. But then Camille goes to Maxime's violin repair shop and meets his employee, Stephane (Daniel Auteuil), and she instantly falls in love. While Camille freely expresses her emotions for Stephane, he acts increasingly introverted, shunning her affections even though he cares for her, too. Camille soon becomes obsessed in her determination to win Stephane over.


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12/6 The Hudsucker Proxy (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1994)

Presented by Dan Smith

New York City, December 1958. Newly arrived from Indiana, Norville Barnes walks into the Hudsucker Building just as the company president leaps to his death from a window high above. When a ruthless executive seeks a new proxy president who is sure to fail, naive Norville is moved from the mailroom to the boardroom. This screwball comedy from the Coen Brothers reinterprets visual and aural styles of earlier directors such as Howard Hawks and Frank Capra while reflecting on the mythology of the office building and the city as work places.