Posted by Eric Stumpf
This week, the Saratoga Film Forum will host a film series based on the themes of authority and resistance. Craig Zobel's Compliance will be shown at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, followed by a panel discussion of guest speakers. Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg will conclude the series, which opens at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec 30.
The Film Forum is the only theatre in the region screening Compliance. Rated R, the film explores the nature of authority, fear, human nature and cruelty.
The film is based on the true story of an incident at a Kentucky McDonalds in 2004. An alleged police officer re-investigates an employee who has stolen money from a customer, and orders the manager to detain the worker. This initiates a confusing and terrible situation, obfuscating the difference between right and wrong, legal and illegal.
Tirdad Derakhshani of the Philadelphia Inquirer calls Compliance "a harrowing, gut-wrenching fable...that shows that even the most well-adjusted, ordinary person could be tempted to degrade and dehumanize their neighbor."
Justice at Nurembergis a 1961 Oscar-winning film from director Stanley Kramer that addresses similar issues to ones explored in Compliance. The film's focus is an American court in occupied Germany during World War II that is in the process of trying four Nazi judges for their heinous war crimes. The film is hard-hitting and filled with a star-studded cast, including Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Burt Lancaster, Spencer Tracy and William Shatner.
The discussion panel following Compliance will be moderated by Dede Hill. Hill is a Professor at Albany Law School where her teaching and scholarship focus on employment, labor and immigration issues. Prior to joining Albany Law School, Hill worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, an Assistant Solicitor General for the New York State Attorney General's Office and an associate with the New York City labor law firm Cohen, Weiss and Simon.
Friday night's panel features Matt Douglas, Richard Gotti and Pat Oles. Douglas is the Lead Crime Analyst within the Office of Field Intelligence in the Schenectady Police Department. He is charged with gathering, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to aid in the capture, identification and prosecution of criminals to increase efficiency and effectiveness of police personnel.
Richard Gotti is a professor at Empire State College, where he teaches human services, psychology and creative writing. He is also a psychotherapist and a writer.
Oles has worked as a clinician and administrator in residential treatment centers for teens and is now an associate professor of Social Work at Skidmore College. He writes about and teaches classes on social policy and social work practice. The issues he teaches are portrayed powerfully in Compliance, most notably coping with vulnerability, coercion, and exploitation.
Relevant Majors and Interests for Compliance: Women's Studies, Labor Issues, Sociology and Psychology.
Relevant Majors and Interests for Judgement at Nuremberg: Judaic Studies, History, Labor Issues and Social Action groups.
Stay tuned next week for a review of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which comes to the Film Forum on Dec. 6.