STS Shifting Paradigms Film Series: THE PUBLIC

Explore the shifting paradigms in the quirky drama, “The Public," when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold. Discussion led by Valerie Edwards, via Zoom.

Sun Feb 28, 2021
7:30 pm -  8:30 pm

Event description:

“The Public” is available for free streaming on Peacock, and for rent on Amazon, Google Play, Redbox, VUDU, YouTube and AMC OnDemand.

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Meeting ID: 895 3941 2076
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“The Public” (2018, USA, Drama, 1 hr 59 mins, Rated PG-13, in English)

Written and Directed by Emilio Estevez; Cinematography by Juan Miguel Azpiroz; Music by Tyler Bates and Joanne Higginbottom; Editing by Richard Chew and Yang Hua Hu; Production Design by David J. Bomba.

Stuart Goodson, head librarian of the Cincinnati Main Public Library, arrives on a bitterly cold morning and greets his patrons. Most are homeless. They are lined up waiting to get in out of the cold. Most rush to the lavatories for relief and some semblance of cleanliness and hygiene. Then they spend their day in the library turning to books, computers, and each other for refuge and community.

Every day Stuart has to balance his regular library tasks with managing the often irrational and occasionally menacing behavior of his hungry, addicted, mentally ill and sporadically incarcerated homeless patrons. Stuart offers them his usual blend of kindness, humor, and professionalism.  But today Stuart learns that he has been named in a lawsuit by a man Stuart had removed from the library after having received many complaints about the man’s offensive body odor. Although Stuart had followed library policy, the library’s trustees now want to fire him in a move to avoid further bad press and political fallout.

The next day, Stuart arrives at the library to find an ambulance along with the usual line of people waiting to get in. One of his regulars had been turned away from the city’s over-crowded shelters and had frozen to death—right on the bench outside the library’s front door. With another brutally cold night on its way, Stuart learns that his homeless patrons are determined not to leave the library at closing time. Since all the city’s shelters are full, they ask, why can’t the library, a public institution, offer them safety for at least one night? Worried about their survival, and conflicted about his obligations to the library, Stuart makes a radical decision that challenges the city of Cincinnati to prove whether its public institutions truly belong to the public.

“The Public” won the 2019 Film Club’s Lost Weekend Awards for Best Actor (Emilio Estevez), Best Director (Emilio Estevez), Best Supporting Actor (Jeffrey Wright), and Best Ensemble Cast. It also won the 2020 Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Special Mention Award and was a Nominee in the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival’s Local Heroes Competition.

With Alec Baldwin, Emilio Estevez, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Christian Slater, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Jacob Vargas, Gabrielle Union, Richard T. Jones, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Michael Douglas Hall, Bryant Bentley, Patrick Hume and Nik Pajic.



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Shomrei Torah Synagogue
7353 Valley Circle Boulevard
West Hills, CA 91304
Main Office: (818) 854-7650
Education Center: (818) 854-7690



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