University of California, Irvine
School of Humanities
Date & Time: 7/15/2010 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Department: Film and Media Studies
Event Title: 2010 Free Summer Film Series Presents: Sarafina!
Location: Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Humanities Instructional Building 100
Series I: Teach and Resist
Programmed by Shahriar Fouladi, Ph.D. candidate, UCI Visual Studies Program

The formula is familiar: a teacher walks into a classroom of rowdy, terrifying students and proceeds to transform their lives, against odds imposed by an indifferent or even hostile society. In return, the teacher is equally rewarded by the promise of awakened youth. This series explores how formal education is imagined through stories of teachers and students instructing and resisting each other and “the system.” These conflicts and reconciliations, so essential to the “inspirational teacher” genre, stage broader social tensions—about race, class, gender, codes of civility, survival, and growing up—inside of the classroom. The popularity and repetition of these films force us to ask: Why are teachers so often put in a savior role? What do these films tell us about the function of schools, and their vexed relationship to meaningful education? Who—or what—is so horrible that it must be transformed and redeemed, and how?

In apartheid South Africa during the Soweto Riots, a young student named Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) is emboldened by her teacher (Whoopi Goldberg) to fight for change in her homeland. The film opens with students setting fire to their school to protest the use of Afrikaans as the language of instruction. Ingeniously using musical numbers to interrupt viewers’ assumptions about revolt, the film shows education is a political battleground, as students are imprisoned, tortured, and killed, supposedly for their violent actions. But the film reveals that the true cause is state power that will not allow students to challenge racist domination. Spurred by her beloved mentor and thoughts of Nelson Mandela, Sarafina learns and the film instructs that true education is not limited by classroom walls, justice requires constant struggle, and revolution comes in unexpected forms.

Summer Session invites you to enjoy life on campus this summer at our 6th Annual Free Film Series. Attendees will have the opportunity to view unique and rarely screened films and participate in a discussion after the screening. Free to all UCI faculty, staff, students and local community members.

Important Information:
- Free to UCI students, faculty, staff and visitors
- No need to RSVP
- Parking available in the Mesa Structure for $5
- Free snacks provided to enjoy during the film
- Participate in a group discussion after the film
- Programmed by UCI grad students