In an era when “the news” is peppered with alternate facts and channeled by individual feeds, the idea of a television anchor provoking the public to action by shouting, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore,” seems almost quaint. But Network (1976) gets to the soul of American discontent and does so with an all-star cast.
This seminar explores what happens when directors make movies about the media, or, as film scholar Paul Young put it in the title of his book, what it means when “the cinema dreams its rivals.” In particular, we will explore the use of satire and consider why films about television are often used as opportunities to explore societal crises. What makes the television film different from the newspaper or radio movie? We’ll talk about what was happening in the United States and the film industry when Network was released and the real events that inspired the screenplay. Lastly, we’ll pay tribute to Sidney Lumet, director of another film about “angry” men—12 of them to be precise—as well as a diverse range of pictures from Serpico to The Wiz. How does Lumet’s concern with social justice inform this film? And will we ultimately agree with Roger Ebert when he called the film a “prophecy”? Or has so much changed in the 23 years since he wrote those words that the film speaks to us now in new ways?
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.
Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.