Above: Image from the film "Norma Rae"

(Sacramento, CA – December 21, 2018) The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce a new feature film series, "Work, Struggle, Emancipation," highlighting four movies that bring into focus issues faced by working class people seeking the American dream.

In selecting the films (Norma Rae, A Better Life, Matewan, and The Grapes of Wrath) Museum educators drew inspiration from the exhibition "History, Labor, Life: The Prints of Jacob Lawrence," which opens to the public in January. The artwork in the exhibition offers compelling imagery of historical struggles for freedom as well as snapshots of everyday life for blue-collar Americans.

“To complement Jacob Lawrence’s imagery, we wanted to showcase the various ways the working class has been portrayed in film, with stories of struggle and triumph," says the Museum's adult education coordinator, Erin Dorn. "With sensitivity and beauty, these films portray different perspectives of working people, each from different eras, and the common thread is a combination of irresistible characters and brilliant film making.”

Norma Rae
[1979, 123 MINUTES, PG]
Starring Sally Field in her Oscar-winning performance, Norma Rae tells the real-life story of Crystal Lee Sutton, a textile factory worker in North Carolina who fights to unionize her fellow workers due to their poor working conditions. Field’s performance electrified audiences, and the film remains one of the most iconic depictions of blue-collar struggles and triumphs.
For the event link, click HERE.

A Better Life
[2011, 98 MINUTES, PG-13]
A Better Life stars Demián Bichir (Che and TV’s The Bridge), who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, and follows the story of single father and undocumented immigrant gardener Carlos whose son is navigating high school and the perils of Los Angeles gang life. When Carlos’ work truck is stolen, the father and son try to find it together, but Carlos faces constant risk of arrest and deportation. With understated and compelling performances called “touching and startling” by The New York Times, the film tells the universal story of what a parent will sacrifice for their children and family.
For the event link, click HERE.

[1987, 142 MINUTES, PG-13]
Written and directed by John Sayles (Lone Star), Matewan tells the true story of a 1920s coal miners’ strike that turned violent in the West Virginia town of Matewan. Starring Chris Cooper in his film debut and James Earl Jones – whose performance “practically glows in the dark” (Variety) – Matewan offers stirring storytelling with themes that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.
For the event link, click HERE.

The Grapes of Wrath
[1940, 129 MINUTES, NR]
The classic film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s landmark and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath stars a young Henry Fonda and was awarded the Oscar for John Ford’s brilliant directing. The story centers on the Joad family who, like so many families devasted by the 1930s Dust Bowl, are forced to abandon their Oklahoma farm and head West. Full of tragedy and hope, The Grapes of Wrath boasts iconic performances and imagery that must be seen on the big screen.
For the event link, click HERE.

All film screenings start at 6:30 p.m.

This film series will be presented at the Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street, downtown Sacramento) in the Setzer Foundation Auditorium, which boasts 260 velour-cushioned seats, a state-of-the-art theater system, and an assistive listening system for the hearing impaired, and wheelchair access.

Ticket pricing is $8 per film for Museum members, $16 nonmembers. Members are also eligible for an $24 member series ticket, which includes admission to all four film screenings for the price of three. Tickets may be purchased online at crockerart.org, at the Museum admission desk, or by calling (916) 808-1182.

Karen Christian
Media Relations Associate, Crocker Art Museum
(916) 808-1867

Through engaging, innovative, and life-changing interactions with art, the Crocker Art Museum provides meaningful opportunities for people of divergent backgrounds to find common ground. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitor’s understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at crockerart.org