FAMS is pleased to offer events in support of its academic mission, including screenings by established and burgeoning filmmakers, guest lectures by critical historians and theorists, and workshops/lectures by writers and producers working in film, television, video and new media.

Please note: The FAMS calendar also features film screening opportunities sponsored by other departments on the Amherst College campus. 

Upcoming Events

February 2020

Thu, Feb 6, 2020

Helene Keyssar Lecture: "The Girlfriend Film: Affection and Affiliation" with Melissa Hardie

Long before the Bechdel Test codified and implicitly critiqued the failure of films to make female interaction the focal point of narrative activity, Fred Zinnemann’s 1977 Julia and Claudia Weill’s 1978 Girlfriends both described the difficulty of conceptualizing female affiliation in narrative as well as visual sequences. Within widely different industrial and political contexts, they each narrated the ways in which explicit interdiction and other forms of “sororophobia” to arise as forms of plot advancement and affective dislocation in the lives of paired female friends. In Julia, the adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s memoir foreshadows as public historical and political allegory this separation or dislocation; in Girlfriends the focus is personal and intimate although the premise of the plot is also that this interdiction is a political and aesthetic matter. In both, an endeavor to separate affection from desire is gestured at as a condition of affection. This lecture will explore the ways in which women, in historical fact or imaginative revision, can be brought together as girlfriends.

Melissa Hardie is Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Sydney. Much of her work considers “novel objects,” bridging Modernist to contemporary textual practices to find unexpected areas of connection between what are usually thought of as discrete periods, practices or genres. Her recent essays have turned to Marielle Heller’s 2018 film Can You Ever Forgive Me? about writer Lee Israel; texts by filmmaker Almodóvar and novelist Djuna Barnes; and George Cukor’s last film, Rich and Famous, which narrates the friendship of two women writers. Her current book investigates how the closet is a critical vector in the remediation of forms of confession and disclosure, focusing on television, cinema, memoir and the starlet. She is also co-editing a book on Verhoeven's Showgirls with Meaghan Morris and Kane Race. Dr. Hardie is driven by an ethos of inclusivity, which means she focuses on the under-explored and under-represented edges of canons and how fields are transformed when inclusion and diversity are made central concerns.

Reception to follow.

Thu, Feb 20, 2020

Film & Media Studies Open House

Are you interested in exploring film and media but don’t know where to begin? Our Film & Media Studies open house is just the place! We have an array of opportunities for students here at Amherst College, so cozy up in the McCaffrey Room lounge and join us for pizza and cookies to learn more! All students and majors are welcome.

Fri, Feb 28, 2020

Shusenjo - The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue

Screening and Q&A with director Miki Dezaki

Miki Dezaki, a Youtuber who was threatened and harassed by Japan's notorious netouyo (cyber neo-nationalists) for his video on racism in Japan, is not shying away from controversial topics with his debut feature length documentary on the comfort women issue. The film dives deep into the most contetious dispute between Japan and Korea, and finds answers to hotly debated questions, such as: Were the comfort women "sexual slaves" or prostitutes? Were they coercively recruited? Were there really 200,000 comfort women? And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize?

Dezaki masterfully interweaves footage from demonstrations, man-on-the-street interviews, news and archival clips with in-depth interviews with the most prominent scholars and influencers from both sides of the debate, including Yoshiko Sakurai (journalist), Kent Gilbert (lawyer/celebrity), Mina Watanabe (secretary-general of the Women's Active Museum), Koichi Nakano (political science professor) and Yoshiaki Yoshimi (historian).

"Shusenjo" reveals surprising confessions and revelations that uncover the hidden intentions of both supporters and detractors while deconstructing the dominant narratives. That Dezaki has managed to bring nuance to a sensationalized and often oversimplified issue is just one of the many reasons that "Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue" is a must-see work.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Asian Languages & Civilizations; History; Sexuality, Women's, & Gender Studies; and Film & Media Studies

Featured Article

Still from Milagroso Azul (Miracle Blue) by Joyzel Acevedo '15
Still from Milagroso Azul (Miracle Blue) by Joyzel Acevedo '15

Political yet Personal: Student Documentaries Explore Torture and Immigration

A former military police officer attempts to reconcile his love for music with the memory of hearing it used as a weapon while stationed at Guantanamo Bay. An immigrant family from Cuba mourns the loss of their wife/mother/grandmother thousands of miles from the place they know as home. These are the real stories behind two documentaries filmed, edited and produced by Ashley Blasczyk '15 and Joyzel Acevedo '15 as part of their Film and Media Studies senior thesis projects.

Read more