Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:30pm
An Evening with Cinenova

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Light Industry hosts an evening with London's Cinenova, one of the key distributors of feminist cinema. For tonight's event, Cinenova Working Group member Emma Hedditch will give a talk about the project's storied history, from Lis Rhodes and Annabel Nicolson withdrawing their work in protest from the landmark Film as Film exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1979 to Cinenova's current incarnation as a catalytic force in contemporary discussions around women and film. Hedditch will also present a rare screening of Scuola Senza Fine, a work from Cinenova's collection that documents the radical pedagogical experiments of the "150 Hours Courses" in Italy in the late 1970s and early 80s.

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Scuola Senza Fine
Adriana Monti and 150 Hours Course teachers, digital projection of 16mm, 1983, 40 mins

The 150 Hours Courses were an educational experiment implemented in Italy beginning in 1974, available to factory workers and farmers initially, and expanding to include women a couple of years later. The courses were non-vocational; they were not intended to improve one’s productivity at work, but rather to allow for personal and collective growth. The courses sought to help workers reflect not only upon their working conditions but also on their lives. A large part was devoted to the re-elaboration and reinterpretation of what was defined as the "lived experience" of those attending: their experiences with work, emigration, cultural and language discrimination, union struggles, etc.

Scuola Senza Fine shows how the experiment extended into the lives of women taking the course, most of whom were housewives. The film was produced in collaboration with these students as part of their studies for the class, turning the curriculum's questions about the representation of women into questions about the representation of themselves.

Adriana Monti writes in her introduction to the film:

"After I had been working with a particular group of housewives for a year we started shooting the film Scuola Senza Fine (literally School Without End) almost casually, in 1979. I was able to get equipment free of charge and money to pay for the film was made available.

Rediscovering the pleasure of reading and studying was reliving their adolescence. It was important for them to have teachers to whom they could tell in writing what they had done and thought, their past history and plans for the future.

The film shows how the women related to each other at that time and the special closeness each woman felt for every other – perhaps because they came from the same place, or shared the same ideals and way of thinking, or, simply, because they were fond of each other. For many women, rediscovering the mother/teacher relationship meant being able to express thoughts which had often been undervalued or disregarded (most of the housewives attending the course had given up their education to go to work or had not been able to make use of the knowledge they had already, because they stayed at home after getting married). The opportunity to relive that relationship in a learning situation stimulated a very interesting kind of writing and thought."

Related reading: Paola Melchiori's "From a Blue Collar School to a Women’s University"

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.