Broad Underground Film Series: Petrocinema, from Wheels of Progress to Auto-apocalypse

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Friday February 19

7:00 PM  –  9:00 PM

Cinema has an enduring fascination with cars. The lure of speed and movement, the thrill of danger, the deadly threat of the crash: experiences behind the wheel have long inspired filmmakers to think about their own medium as a moving-image technology capable of delivering similar kinetic pleasures. This screening with Justus Nieland, Professor and Chair of the Department of English and Kyle Sittig, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, explores the fateful entanglement of automobiles and film. Ranging from early silent comedies to government-sponsored films produced by the Office of Public Roads to sponsored films by the automobile industry (including films by the Detroit-based Jam Handy corporation, for GM) through a range of experimental and avant-garde works of “petrocinema,” this program scrutinizes the twinned promise and threat of the car as commodity, technology, design object, and fantasy.