Caste of Thousands: Films About the Working Class

Late three times for work, so it’s night shift
or my job. I’m eighteen, no experience, broke,
so I make the deal. I wear jeans and a T-shirt:
Shop at Ray’s for the Best Deals Around,
a message more pertinent when
there was more than one store in town.
-Karen J. Weyant, from Redemption at Ray’s Corner Grocery Store

In a society where the roars of the wealthy and powerful clamor for our attention, the authentic voices of ordinary working people can be easy to dismiss. Too often found only at the margins of our art and culture, working-class identity nonetheless lies at a rich and complex junction crossed and twined by gender, race and sexuality. It is through the strength and solidarity of such communities that the working class makes its saga known.

While the bodies of the working class may be physically damaged from the grueling work they do, the films in this year’s series demonstrate that their spirits are far from broken. Placed at the center of a story, a working-class character can become the “everyone” of the imagination, leading us to examine how our own work expands and limits us, blinds and enlightens us. Thus these films may help us to re-define and re-envision our notions of what constitutes the “book of success.”

Each film will be followed by a panel discussion led by Collin College faculty and staff. The series supports the college's core values of learning, creativity and involvement by engaging students through film and discussion.

All screenings are free and open to the public. Doors open 30 minutes before the film begins. Seating is limited. Some material may not be suitable for all audiences. To request an ASL interpreter and subtitles for any film, please email Dr. Perry at two weeks before the screening.

The Motorcycle Diaries
7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017
Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center
(R, 2004, dir. Walter Salles, 126 minutes)
A young medical student travels across South America, works with lepers in Peru, and discovers his true vocation. Based on the journals of Che Guevara.
Presented in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month

Norma Rae
7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017
The Angelika Film Center in Plano
(PG, 1979, dir. Martin Ritt, 114 minutes)
A single mother becomes involved in union activities in the dangerous textile factory where she works. Based on a true story.

Billy Elliot
7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
Preston Ridge Campus Conference Center
(R, 2000, dir. Stephen Daldry, 110 minutes)
The son of a coal miner discovers a remarkable talent for ballet and struggles to pursue his dream during the 1985 miners’ strike in northern England.

Queen of Katwe
7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018
The Angelika Film Center in Plano
(PG, 2016, dir. Mira Nair, 124 minutes)
A Ugandan girl living in a slum discovers a startling aptitude for chess, leading her to compete in the World Chess Olympiads. Based on a true story.
Presented in conjunction with African American History Month

7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Central Park Campus Conference Center
(R, 2014, dir. Matthew Marchus, 119 minutes)
An unlikely alliance between Welsh coal miners and LGBT activists results in comedy, pathos and triumph. Based on a true story.

7 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center
(PG, 1986, dir. David Anspaugh, 114 minutes)
In 1951, the basketball team in tiny, impoverished Hickory, Indiana, is led to play in the state championship by a disgraced former coach.

Collin College District map

Spring Creek Campus
2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano

Preston Ridge Campus
9700 Wade Blvd., Frisco

Central Park Campus
2200 W. University Drive, McKinney

Angelika Film Center
The Shops at Legacy, 7205 Bishop Rd., Plano

The Auteur Film Series is supported by
the Academic Affairs Division at Collin College.