Events

The newly-renovated James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street will reopen this fall with a series of film screenings featuring award-winning guest filmmakers curated by Director of the Program in Visual Arts Martha Friedman. All screenings in the series are free and open to the public.

Visual Arts program faculty member Lynne Sachs, along with fellow filmmaker Lizzie Olesker, presents a screening of The Washing Society along with a post-screening discussion led by Professor of History and African American Studies Tera Hunter (recent winner of the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for women’s history).

THE WASHING SOCIETY brings us into New York City laundromats and the experiences of the people who work there. Collaborating together for the first time, filmmaker Lynne Sachs and playwright Lizzie Olesker observe the disappearing public space of the neighborhood laundromat and the continual, intimate labor that happens there. Inspired by Princeton professor Tera Hunter’s “To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War” — a depiction of the 1881 organization of African-American laundresses in Atlanta — Sachs and Olesker’s film investigates the intersection of history, underpaid work, immigration, and the sheer math of doing laundry.


This film screening series is supported through the John Sacret Young ’69 Lecture Series fund. Sacret Young is a 1969 graduate of Princeton and an author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and seven Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, winning two WGA Awards.  He is perhaps best known for co-creating, along with William F. Broyles Jr., China Beach, the critically acclaimed ABC-TV drama series about medics and nurses during the Vietnam War, and for his work on the television drama The West Wing. Young has also received a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, and his original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth Humanitas Prize nomination. He is the author of REMAINS: Non-Viewable,Los Angeles Timesbest seller. He has written extensively about American art, which led to his recent memoir Pieces of Glass – An Artoir about the effect art has had on his writing, his screen work, and his life.

Trailer

About the Film

The Washing Society
a film by Lizzie Olesker and Lynne Sachs
44 min. 2018

When you drop off a bag of dirty laundry, who’s doing the washing and folding?  THE WASHING SOCIETY brings us into New York City laundromats and the experiences of the people who work there. Collaborating together for the first time, filmmaker Lynne Sachs and playwright Lizzie Olesker observe the disappearing public space of the neighborhood laundromat and the continual, intimate labor that happens there.  With a title inspired by the 1881 organization of African-American laundresses, THE WASHING SOCIETY investigates the intersection of history, underpaid work, immigration, and the sheer math of doing laundry.  Drawing on each other’s artistic practices, Sachs and Olesker present a stark yet poetic vision of those whose working lives often go unrecognized, turning a lens onto their hidden stories, which are often overlooked.  Dirt, skin, lint, stains, money, and time are thematically interwoven into the very fabric of THE WASHING SOCIETY through interviews and observational moments. With original music by sound artist Stephen Vitiello, the film explores the slippery relationship between the real and the re-enacted with layers of dramatic dialogue and gestural choreography. The juxtaposition of narrative and documentary elements in THE WASHING SOCIETY creates a dream-like, yet hyper-real portrayal of a day in the life of a laundry worker, both past and present.

THE WASHING SOCIETY has received support from Workers Unite Film Festival, New York State Council on the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Women and Media Coalition, Puffin Foundation and Fandor FIX Filmmakers.

Collaborators include acclaimed downtown actors Ching Valdes-Aran, Jasmine Holloway, Veraalba Santa, film editor Amanda Katz, cinematographer Sean Hanley and sound artist Stephen Vitiello.

EVENT ARCHIVE

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The James Stewart Film Theater is located on the first floor at 185 Nassau Street in Princeton.

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Presented By

  • Program in Visual Arts