American cinema has always held a mirror to the country’s ever-changing cultural and political landscape, giving the American people a chance to experience their deepest fears and loftiest ambitions magnified by the power of the silver screen. With State of the Union, PFS invites audiences to explore the country’s past and imagine its future through films that rigorously examine American leaders, institutions, and values while still being great works of entertainment.
ANTONIO SANTINI, DAN SICKLES | PUERTO RICO, USA | 2014
July 18 | 7:00 PM | PFS Roxy Theater
In this sensitive, illuminating documentary, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles (the team behind 2017’s Dina) follow nine members of Puerto Rico’s transgender community—including RuPaul’s Drag Race alum April Carrión and 65-year-old trans pioneer Soraya—as they go about their daily lives while navigating issues of identity, performance, and discrimination. Filmed over three years, the film takes a lush, uniquely cinematic approach to capturing its subjects, whether in moments of intimate reflection or public performance. Though their varying backgrounds and perspectives indicate the breadth and diversity of the trans experience, each of Mala Mala’s subjects conveys the complex relationship between personal identity and political agency.
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE
DAVID FRANCE | USA | 2012
August 15 | 7:00 PM | PFS Roxy Theater
This Oscar-nominated documentary is a powerful portrait of the young activists whose grassroots efforts helped bring nationwide attention to the devastation caused by the AIDS epidemic. Driven to action by the devastation of their community and the apparent indifference of the American government and pharmaceutical industry, activists in New York City formed the influential advocacy group ACT UP. Over the course of several years, members of ACT UP lobbied drug companies to provide affordable treatments, staged dramatic protests, and gradually helped to reverse the tide of the epidemic. Drawing extensively on archival footage, David France mixes heart-wrenching testimonials of suffering with stirring demonstrations of how the activists channeled their sadness and anger into direct action
PAST STATE OF THE UNION SCREENINGS
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN | PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES | SELMA | FRUITVALE STATION | NORMA RAE | EL NORTE | CARTEL LAND | SEVEN DAYS IN MAY | THIRTEEN DAYS | THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK