Poem 88 screens Fur and other films for the 99%

Poem 88 begins a film screening series titled “Films for the 99%” tonight at 8 p.m. with a screening of <I> Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus</i>.

In an effort to encourage Atlanta’s art community to participate in a dialogue about political and social issues, Poem 88 Gallery has begun a film screening event series titled “Films for the 99%.” Building off ideas from those voiced in recent months by the “Occupy Movement,” the goal is that these films will inspire others become more actively involved in issues around them.

According to gallery owner, Robin Bernat, “The idea for the film series came from the Occupy movement; films are a great tool for education and social change, they embrace a large audience harnessing a medium that is extremely accessible to most people.”

Bernat also explains, “Some of the films in the series, though older, address important ideas about social justice. For instance, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and its film adaptation were ground breaking for its time. After the Trayvon Martin killing, I felt even more compelled to begin the film series, and I think To Kill a Mockingbird puts a microscope up to bigotry and hate.”

Poem 88 will be screening Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006), a fictionalized account of Arbus’ beginnings in her photography career starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, tonight at 8 p.m. The film, which also stars Robert Downey Jr., chronicles Arbus’ journey in finding her subject matter that would eventually make her and her work famous.

When Arbus is introduced to Lionel Sweeney (played by Downey) who has a disease that causes hair to grow all over his body, her infatuation with Sweeney leads to her fascination with marginalized and different people who live on the fringes of society. Her photographs of dwarfs, giants, circus performers, people with deformities became iconic and highly regarded by the art community.

In conjunction with the screening, SCAD professor and author, Fredrick Gross will give and lecture and be signing copies of his new novel, Diane Arbus’s 1960s: Auguries of Experience at the nearby Fall Line Press from 6-9 p.m. on Fri., May 4.

In addition to Fur, {Poem88} will be screening many other films throughout the summer including To Kill A Mockingbird, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Paris is Burning, and others. For a full list of the screenings, which continue through October, check here.

The importance of issues presented in these films have inspired Bernat’s desire to screen them at the gallery. “In my mind, {Poem88}, besides being an art gallery, can be a meeting place for progressive-thinking people. Art is not simply about pretty pictures, it’s a place where ideas find form in a visual language...the goal of {Poem88} is to foster dialogue around ideas of contemporary art: artists do not live in a vacuum, and art is informed by all aspects of life including the political,” Bernat says.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) screening at {Poem88} Gallery, 1100 Howell Mill Road Suite A03, tonight, May 2, 8 p.m.