The Grinnell College Cultural Films Committee will present a screening of “UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS, a LIVE DOCUMENTARY!” on Sun., Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green will be on site to narrate the documentary and cue a live soundtrack and score by Brooklyn-based band, The Quavers, of which Grinnell alumnus T. Griffin '93 is a part.
The documentary, currently offered at the Walker Center in Minneapolis, was considered “the most compelling screening” at the 2010 Sundance festival.
According to Terri Geller, assistant professor of English who worked to bring the film to Grinnell, “‘Utopia’ is the culmination of Green’s longstanding interest in the optimism of the early 20th century, and raises questions as to what impedes us in realizing so many of our collective hopes and ambitions.”
“This provocative live documentary explores the concept of utopia in the contemporary world by presenting four vignettes of experiments of the past century—from the construction of the language of Esperanto in order to promote peace through a shared language, and a “world’s largest” shopping mall in the remote city of Dongguan, China (now abandoned), to the tireless optimism of an American exile in Cuba (Tupac Shakur's aunt), and the desire to identify remains in mass graves from the Bosnian War via forensic anthropology—in a multimedia cinematic experience.”
The film was selected by Grinnell’s Cultural Films Committee for its significance in highlighting social change, internationalism and addressing broad interdisciplinary issues.
“The most compelling screening of the entire [2010 Sundance] festival. Utopia was not only utterly moving but a reminder that there is real power conjured through the irreplaceable and unreproducible experience of collectively watching cinema.” —Huffington Post
"This provocative ‘live documentary’ explores the concept of utopia in the contemporary world by presenting four vignettes on experiments of the past century— from the universal language of Esperanto to a “world’s largest” shopping mall in the remote city of Dongguan, China—in a multimedia cinematic experience. Academy Award–nominated director Sam Green offers live narration that cues a stirring pastiche of still and moving images as musician Dave Cerf mixes a live soundtrack of samples and loops. Brooklyn-based band the Quavers performs a lyrical score live. “Utopia represents a celebration of big dreams as well as an homage to cinema as collective experience and event... embodying hope, fashioning new possibilities from old dreams” San Francisco International Film Festival