Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Film-Thinking 2022–23

Film-Thinking explores the ways in which filmmakers use their work as vehicles for thinking through political, historical, social, and philosophical questions, and how cinema itself might act as a thinking subject. This year’s series featured screenings and discussions of an international trio of films considering issues of gender, sexuality, and interracial politics; religion and class; and the ways in which politics and cinema itself can shape perceptions of reality.

The first film of the year, Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven (2002), was shown in partnership with the LGBTQIA+ Thinking initiative at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and tells the story of a woman whose failing marriage calls into question the idyllic appearance of her 1950s upper-middle-class community and ushers in a socially unacceptable relationship with a Black gardener.

The second film, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s La ricotta (1963), originally a segment of the international multi-director omnibus film RoGoPaG, follows a starving man working as an extra in a film of the Passion of Christ and his attempts to find food on the set.

And the third film, Abbas Kiarostami’s First Case, Second Case [Qazieh-e shekl-e avval … shekl-e dovvom] (1980), is a pseudo-documentary shot in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and depicts political and social leaders, both real and fictional, reacting in highly polarized ways to a teacher’s demands that a group of students betray the one among them who caused a disruptive incident in class.