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The Hebrew word for “justice” has a simple root, tzedek, also translated as “righteousness.” But it simply means to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? How do we determine it? And if determined, how do we summon the will to take the risks that doing the right thing entails? I started compiling a list of these a few months ago, and there are far too many films to show them all. I decided to limit it to these six.
The first showing will be at Kehilla. Depending on how many attend, we will either stay at the Fireside Room or show it in a private house, probably mine.
There will be a pot of veggie gluten-free food so that people do not have to eat in advance of coming. Since the films are between 1½ and 2 hours long, we will start early. Come at 6:15 for food, 6:30 for a short introduction and then the film. And you can still take food and eat during the movie. For those who are interested and can stay, there will be 20 minutes of discussion following the films.
Dates: Wednesdays, January 25, February 15, February 22, March 8, March 15, March 22
Time: 6:15pm: Dinner, 6:30 promptly: Introduction & Movie
Location: Fireside Room (Depending on how many attend, we will either stay at the Fireside Room or show it in a private house, probably mine.)
Cost: (Includes gluten-free veggie stew) $15 per evening for members; $20 for nonmembers. $75 for the series of six movies for members; $100 for nonmembers. You can take the whole series or come just to any of them. Be sure to check the Kehilla website to confirm the location.
To Register: You can register here, or send check payable to Kehilla, 1300 Grand Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94610.
January 25. Do the Right Thing (1989) Why not start out with this film series with a movie whose very name expresses the theme? A gripping drama set in a Brooklyn pizzeria, the movie explores in microcosm difficult choices in the context of a racist reality. Spike Lee won the Palme d’Or for the film. 120 min.
February 15. The Visitor (2007). A small but acclaimed film. A private apolitical individual must decide whether and how to come to the aid of two undocumented immigrants. Beautifully filmed, scripted and acted. An inspiring work for those working on Kehilla’s immigration and refugee endeavors. 104 min.
February 22. Trumbo (2015). A drama focusing on the challenges faced and choices made by an idealistic screenwriter facing McCarthyist repression in the 1950’s. We have something to learn today from the defiance of a proto-fascism 60 years ago and from the courage required as different individuals took risks in the face of adversity. 124 min.
March 8. The Wannsee Conference (1984) – A reenactment of the short conference in 1942 where officials of the Third Reich, including Eichmann, met to discuss practicalities in finalizing the final solution. The context is a limited and racist world view where the most “liberal” choices favor murdering a few less people. Good prep for the next film in the series. The film is exactly the same length as the actual conference: 85 minutes.
March 15. Hannah Arendt (2012). A drama about Arendt’s wrestling with the ethical choices facing perpetrators and victims of the holocaust. Looking at the Eichmann trial, Arendt considers how doing the right thing requires getting off automatic pilot lest you fall into the banality of evil. Her very act of discussing the issue at all models the purposeful thinking required to do the right thing. Best if you saw Wannsee film on March 8.113 min.
March 22. Where to Invade Next (2015). What choices have other countries made to do the right thing for their people? Michael Moore’s tongue-in-cheek, yet factual, documentary makes us seriously consider the poor choices the U.S. has made and provides a vision of what is possible if we do the right thing. 120 min.