Mid-Century Movie Nights: Salt of the Earth
Fri, May 20, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Bushel is pleased to present the third in the series Mid-Century Movie Nights with a screening of Salt of the Earth, 1954, directed by Herbert J. Biberman, featuring Rosaura Revueltas, Juan Chacon, Will Greer.
This drama film focuses on Esperanza Quintero, a thirty-five-year-old zinc miner’s wife, during a long and difficult strike led by her husband Ramon. The majority of the miners are Mexican-Americans who want decent working conditions equal to those of white or “Anglo” miners. After Ramon is released from jail after being brought in on bogus assault charges, Esperanza tells him that he’s no good to her in jail and ingeniously organizes the miners’ wives to picket in their husbands’ place. Directed by Herbert J. Biberman in the neorealist style, Salt of the Earth features actual miners and their families as actors, and is one of the first pictures to advance a feminist social and political point of view. Biberman, screenwriter Michael Wilson, and producer Paul Jarrico were all blacklisted by Hollywood due to their alleged involvement in communist politics. This film heralds their return to filmmaking after McCarthy’s reign of terror.
This program is free to attend with a suggested donation of $5. Doors open at 7 pm; screening begins at 7:20 pm. Seating is limited to 30; attendance is mask optional.
Mid-Century Movie Nights is a six-film series taking place on Friday nights between May 6th and June 10th, co-curated by Cheryl Clarke and Mina Takahashi. The films, made between 1945 and 1959, give present-day viewers the opportunity to ponder the weight of the post-World War II era on its generation. From Rome to Tokyo, to the US Southwest, then to France, over to the Indian subcontinent, and back to gritty Manhattan, the films ask us to consider their subjects’ alienation, perseverance, and survival. As we witness the 1950s fascist regimes, exploitative working conditions, the loneliness of ageing, the indignities of poverty, the complexity of racial ambiguity, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways racism and sexism play out, we ask ourselves today, what has stubbornly endured, and what has changed for the better?
Cheryl Clarke is a poet and one of the organizers of the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Her most recent book is Targets, published by Bushel Editions in 2020. She spends weekends processing books in her partner’s bookstore, Blenheim Hill Books, one of six bookstores in the Book Village of Hobart.
Mina Takahashi is a working collective member of Bushel. She lives in Delhi, edits Hand Papermaking magazine, and is involved in a number of community initiatives including Catskills Unity, Delaware County Citizens for Refugee Support (DCCRS), and Get Woke! Catskills.