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Surveillance in Cultural Context: Seven Films

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jim Paradis, Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Writing

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Explore the culture of surveillance in modern society in a series of brilliant films about surveillance and modernity. Brief introductions and after-viewing discussions explore the rise of surveillance in the framework of shifting media regimes. Light snacks will be served.

Minority Report

Jan/07 Tue 06:00PM-08:30PM
Futuristic sci-fi film of crime detection in a PreCrime Department (Tom Cruise) that apprehends criminals before they commit crimes. (2002), directed by Steven Spielberg (145 min)


Jan/14 Tue 06:00PM-08:30PM
Pursuit of a compulsive child killer (Peter Lorre) in pre-WWII Berlin in a growing web of police, neighborhood, and underworld surveillance practices concludes with an injunction to “keep closer watch over the children.” (1931), directed by Fritz Lang (111 min)

The Lives of Others

Jan/16 Thu 06:00PM-08:30PM
East German Stasi officer (Ulrich Muhne) oversees the surveillance of a state-approved playwright’s East Berlin apartment and becomes emotionally entangled with his subject in a milieu in which everyone monitors everyone. (2006), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark (138 min)

Rear Window

Jan/21 Tue 06:00PM-08:30PM
Professional photographer (James Stewart), incapacitated with an injury, passes the time monitoring neighbors with binoculars during a summer heatwave and stumbles on what seems to be a murder scene in a milieu of suspicious neighbors. (1954), directed by Alfred Hitchcock, (112 min)

The Conversation

Jan/23 Thu 06:00PM-08:30PM
Surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) descends into a informational hall of mirrors, as he misinterprets a conversation and unwittingly sets the stage for a murder. (1974), directed by Francis Ford Coppola (113 min)

Enemy of the State

Jan/28 Tue 06:00PM-08:30PM
Out of control NSA agents engage in political assassination, which is inadvertently recorded and then followed by a surveillance/counter surveillance extravaganza that entangles a lawyer (Will Smith) whose identity and reputation are destroyed. (1998), directed by Tony Scott (132 min)

We Are Legion

Jan/30 Thu 06:00PM-08:30PM
Documentary exploration of the hacktavist culture of Anonymous and its modeling of surveillance and action by the many against organizations and state-supported institutions. (2012), directed by Brian Knappenberger (93 min)


Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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MIT Building 56, Room 114
Access via 21 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States


MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing