*ATA @ SFPL: Experience Reel Cinema

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Artists' Television Access (ATA) teams up with SFPL to mine the treasures in the Library's 16mm film archive. That's real film, not video! This month they are showing, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (Connie Field, 1980, 16mm) 65 minutes

In 1942, as the United States sent its first troops to Europe, a flyer was distributed back home, declaring that "Hitler and his hordes will not come if women help to build ships...or if women take other jobs directly aiding the war effort". Later that year, Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb wrote the song "Rosie the Riveter" which became a hit for The Four Vagabonds. A photograph of Naomi Parker, a lathe operator at the Alameda Naval Air Station, was circulated nationally; many believe it inspired J. Howard Miller's famous image of a woman with a rolled up sleeve, proclaiming "We Can Do It!"

Connie Field's documentary goes well beyond the surface understandings of the Rosie icon, subverting appropriated footage from vintage propaganda films by juxtaposing it against in-depth interviews with five remarkable women looking back on their days in the wartime workforce. We meet welder Gladys Belcher and labor organizer Lyn Childs, both of whom worked in the Richmond, CA shipyards, Wanita Allen from a Detroit foundry, Lola Weixel, a New York bomb case welder, and Margaret Wright, a riveter at Lockheed in Los Angeles. Their collective testimony provides insight into many relevant topics: the suddenness of a national shift in attitudes about women's labor in time of crisis, the double-standards applied to men and to women, and to white and to non-white workers, the promotion of a consumer-focused society as the war wound down, and much more. An incredible work or oral history made at just the right moment of remove from the time period discussed, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter was selected for the Library of Congress's National Film Registry of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films" in 1996.

This is a Films & Videos program from SFPL. From feature films to youth-made videos, we’ve got something great to watch.

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*Funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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