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View other events for the week of 8/24/2011
The Grapes of Wrath
Date Wednesday August 24
Time 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Type Screening
EmailHumanistHall [at]
Location Details
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
uptown Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway

Film evenings begin with potluck refreshments and social hour at 6:30 pm,
followed by the film at 7:30 pm, followed by a discussion after the film.

The Grapes of Wrath
by John Ford

This classic film was the most popular left-leaning film with a socialist theme of pre-World War II Hollywood. It tells the story of the Joad family, uprooted from their home in Oklahoma and sent hurtling into a new life in California. The film honestly and realistically recreates the socio-economic impact of the Great Depression and a mid-30s drought upon one representative family — the Joads, a poor midwest family forced off of their land. The film’s theme of an oppressed people’s epic move to a new home parallels the Biblical story of Exodus. The story is a part of American history. It shows an understanding of the hardships experienced by those who owned and lived on farms in the dust bowl states during the late 1920s and 1930s.

The film’s portrayal of rural life on the plains during the dust bowl years is done with great accuracy and astute realism. The Joad family suffers the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression — trying to continue to live the American dream! Numerous families lost their farms and land during this terrible time and headed west to find new lives. The plight of the Joad family is universalized as a microcosm of the thousands of other tenant farmers during this country’s time of crisis. They all suffered from the oppression imposed by the banks and big mechanized farm interests. The dispossessed, migrant family’s departure from their windy and dusty land, and their slow disintegration, provide insight into the thousands of Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Panhandle, and West Kansas families who were evicted and uprooted from their dust bowl farm land and forced to search westward in the inhospitable Eden of California for jobs and survival with thousands of other migrant workers. Migrant workers were driven to California from the Midwestern states after losing their homes in the throes of the depression: inclement weather, failed crops, land mortgaged to the hilt and finally taken over by banks and large corporations when credit lines ran dry. Lured by promises of work aplenty, midwesterners packed their belongings and trekked westward to the Golden State, only to find themselves facing hunger, inhumane conditions, contempt, and exploitation instead. This raw, brutally direct, yet incredibly poetic masterpiece film is testimony to the poverty, disillusion, and the degradation of the human spirit of those times and continues to touch nerves deeply rooted in modern society’s fabric — including and particularly in California, where yesterday’s Okies are today’s undocumented Mexicans.

Wheelchair accessible around the corner at 411 28th Street

$5 donations are accepted
Added to the calendar on Sunday Jul 31st, 2011 3:41 PM
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