This year’s Labor Goes to the Movies film series presents a group of films—documentary and fiction—that take the threat of apocalypse as their premise. The threat of global climate change has given apocalyptic scenarios more mainstream girth, but filmmakers have been documenting and imagining man-made end times for years. The featured films depict nuclear confrontation, resource wars, tampering with ecological balance, or nature’s metaphysical revenge. They are meant to stimulate discussion about options for future actions.
(1954, Japan, Ishiro Honda)
Born from the general atmosphere of dread and anxiety with which 1950s Japan viewed atomic weapons, Toho Studios’ Godzilla spawned an entire genre of daikaiju (“giant strange beast”) films, as well as endless sequels, spinoffs and remakes. But no subsequent films have approached the incredible staying power of the original; this incarnation of Godzilla may be just a man in a rubber suit, but his relevancy and impact on pop culture are undiminished even today. An ancient beast stirred from its underwater lair by atom bomb tests, Godzilla embodies the double threat of humanity’s nuclear aggression and the resultant rage of the natural world. For J. Hoberman, “As crass as it is visionary, Godzilla belongs with—and might well trump—the art films Hiroshima Mon Amour and Dr. Strangelove as a daring attempt to fashion a terrible poetry from the mind-melting horror of atomic warfare.”
Mark Jacobson, currently a writer at New York Magazine, has covered a range of topics for Rolling Stone, National Geographic, New York Times Magazine and other publications. He’s the author of a number of books including the 1991 novel, Gojiro, which tells Godzilla's side of the story.
Professor Sigmund Shen is a member of the English department at LaGuardia Community College and chair of the PSC chapter at LaGuardia. He's published on video games, zombie movies, and the politics of higher education funding. His article on Godzilla, "Monster of Mourning, Ritual of Remembering: Ishiro Honda's Gojira," was reprinted in the fall 2014 issue of G-Fan Magazine. He’s presently co-authoring book about "giant monsters" in world cinema.
Doors open at 6 p.m. A discussion will follow the film. Light refreshments provided.