Centering the Masses: My Favorite Things
On select Thursdays (and occasional Tuesdays), various friends of Visual Communications — individuals, filmmakers, activists, and stakeholders from Little Tokyo and various endangered communities — will screen feature-length films that have moved and influenced them, sparked their creativity, or prompted them into action. By looking at this selection, it’s clear that films speak to the human condition, or leave an indelible impression on the public. From romantic comedies, social melodramas, to action and adventure tales, cinema has never failed to offer pointed and wry commentary on matters such as race, class, social and economic strata. So let’s see what moves this small grouping of individuals…
All events below will be at 341 FSN (341 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
FREE ADMISSION. Capacity is limited. Informal seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
PROGRAM ONE | Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Presented by DAREN MOOKO
(1994, Dir., D. Clark Johnson)
Truly a guilty pleasure, this 1990s-era political satire follows an underground militant group that kidnaps African Americans who they feel have betrayed their community and seeks to "deprogram" them so that they will change their ways. The story follows the DROP (Deprogramming and Restoration Of Pride) Squad, a group led by Seavers (Vondie Curtis-Hall) and Garvey (Ving Rhames) as they kidnap Bruford Jamison Jr. (Eriq La Salle), an advertising executive who, as “minority development division” director, cranks out advertising campaigns that belittle blacks and women. But once the DROP Squad is called in, conflicts ensue as to the tactics to be used to reprogram Jamison.
PROGRAM TWO | Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Presented by JEFF CHOP
(1943, Dir.: Michael Curtiz)
Rick Blaine, a cynical world-weary ex-pat, runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco during the early stages of WWII. Despite the pressure he constantly receives from local authorities, Rick's Café Américain has become a kind of haven for refugees seeking to obtain illicit letters that will help them escape to America. But when Ilsa, Rick's former lover, and her husband show up one day, Rick faces a tough challenge which will bring up unforeseen complications, heartbreak and ultimately an excruciating decision to make.
PROGRAM THREE | Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Presented by ABRAHAM FERRER
(1971, Dir.: T.C. Frank)
Billy Jack, a "half-breed" American Navajo Indian, Green Beret Vietnam War veteran, and hapkido master, defends the hippie-themed Freedom School and its students from townspeople who do not understand or like the counterculture students. Trouble escalates when Bernard, son of a corrupt county chief, terrorizes a group of students and subsequently rapes the school’s director and kills a Native American Freedom School student. In order to set things right, Billy confronts Bernard, whom he catches in bed with a 13-year-old girl, and despite sustaining a crippling gunshot wound, administers his own brand of people’s “justice.”
PROGRAM FOUR | Thursday, May 16, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Presented by KRISTIN FUKUSHIMA
THE JOY LUCK CLUB
(1993, Dir.: Wayne Wang)
The Joy Luck Club is the name of an informal gathering formed by four women in San Francisco: Lindo (Tsai Chin), Ying-Ying (France Nuyen), An-Mei (Lisa Lu), and Suyuan (Kieu Chinh). The members have mainly played mahjong and told each other's stories over the years. They emigrated from their native China, remarried, and gave birth to children in America. Suyuan's daughter June (Ming-Na Wen) replaced her when Suyuan died four months before the time the film is set. The mothers have high hopes for their daughters' success, but the daughters struggle through "anxieties, feelings of inadequacy, and failures."
PROGRAM FIVE | Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Presented by KIMBERLY ZARATE
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
(2006, Dir.: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)
The Hoover family — a man (Greg Kinnear), his wife (Toni Collette), an uncle (Steve Carell), a brother (Paul Dano) and a grandfather (Alan Arkin) — puts the fun back in dysfunctional by piling into a VW bus and heading to Redondo Beach, California to support a daughter (Abigail Breslin) in her bid to win the Little Miss Sunshine Contest. The sanity of everyone involved is stretched to the limit as the group's quirks cause epic problems as they travel along their interstate route.