Print the Legend

  • September 10, 2016 — November 7, 2016

Film artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries have, in many ways, grappled with the power of the mass media and its effects on the political and social sphere. With the relatively recent rise of Internet-based social media, we are experiencing new forms of news reportage, opinion, collective action, and the leverage of data in our everyday lives. But before this digital revolution, crucial public outlets such as newspapers, television, newsreels, and radio disseminated information one-directionally. Cinema has always had a strange, contentious relationship with the mainstream press, and so with Print the Legend, we look back not only at classic film examples of the mass media’s portrayal of politics in the US, but also some of our favorite explicitly or implicitly political films that have resonated deeply with audiences over the years and which have often provided perspectives that the neither the media nor the people are normally able to access. With a focus on films that satirize the political sphere or the machinations of the media, Print the Legend seeks to be an antidote to and critical lens on the 24-hour news cycle. Take a break from the smartphone, be with others, laugh, cry, and consider a different perspective on the mediated theater of political reality, even just for two hours.

Download a printable PDF of the series schedule

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Directed by John Ford

“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” That most famous of lines from John

Ace in the Hole

Directed by Billy Wilder

Out-of-work newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum (a perfectly smarmy, snarling Kirk Douglas in one of his best roles) moves west to

The Grand Illusion

Directed by Jean Renoir

A humanistic, sensitive masterpiece nearly unparalleled in cinema history, Renoir’s WWI drama concerns the trials and tribulations of a group

Duck Soup

Directed by Leo McCarey

Despite its relative box-office failure upon initial release (a fact that remains shocking to this day), Duck Soup has become

Born in Flames

Directed by Lizzie Borden

Borden’s landmark, low-budget revolutionary treatise addresses a semi-documentary, semi-fictional parallel world to ours, where competing feminist groups wander the streets

Being There

Directed by Hal Ashby

In one of his most memorable roles, Peter Sellers plays Chance, a hermetic housekeeper at a wealthy man’s sprawling, lavish

Citizen Ruth

Directed by Alexander Payne

Alexander Payne’s (Election, Sideways, Nebraska) debut feature tackles the circa-1996 reproductive rights debate but plays it as a new kind

Medium Cool

Directed by Haskell Wexler

Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler’s (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Days of Heaven) directorial debut

Bulworth

Directed by Warren Beatty

Jay Bulworth, a democratic US Senator from California up for re-election in 1996, is losing on several fronts: in his

The Insider

Directed by Michael Mann

A scalding exposé of big tobacco, government lobbying practices, and the methods that power will leverage to silence its critics,

Starship Troopers

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Ostensibly a huge dumb sci-fi blockbuster starring mid-’90s Hollywood lukewarm up-and-comers, in lesser directorial hands Starship Troopers would have been

Brazil

Directed by Terry Gilliam

A shape-shifting film like few others, Brazil stands as Terry Gilliam’s foremost masterpiece and one of the finest political/dystopian satires

In the Loop

Directed by Armando Iannucci

Before his brilliant HBO series Veep took US cablewaves by storm, writer/director Armando Iannucci created the British sitcom-of-sorts The Thick

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

A nuclear-age parable of unmatched film-historical importance and generalized hilarity, Kubrick’s vision of the day before doomsday remains frightening—and side-splitting—over

Meet John Doe

Directed by Frank Capra

A film about an unexpected media sensation run amok on the American public, Meet John Doe stars Barbara Stanwyck as

A Face in the Crowd

Directed by Elia Kazan

A parable about the dangers of media sensationalism, the problems with “15-minute” fame culture, and unchecked greed, Kazan’s film came

Modern Times

Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Perhaps Chaplin’s foremost contribution to the preeminent art form of the 20th century and routinely voted amongst the greatest films