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The Washing Society, a film by Lizzie Olesker and Lynne Sachs

Tera Hunter, African-American Studies and History; Lynne Sachs, filmmaker; Lizzie Olesker, filmmaker

October 23, 2018 · 3:00 pm · James Stewart Film Theater

Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Visual Arts
The Washing Society movie poster image

The Washing Society (45 min., 2018) brings us into New York City laundromats and the experiences of the people who work there. Filmmaker Lynne Sachs, who currently teaches in Princeton’s Visual Art Department, and playwright Lizzie Olesker observe the disappearing public space of the neighborhood laundromat and the continual, intimate labor that happens there.  Their film investigates the intersection of history, underpaid work, immigration, and the sheer math of doing laundry.  Dirt, skin, lint, stains, money, and time are thematically interwoven into the very fabric of The Washing Society through interviews and observational moments.   The juxtaposition of narrative and documentary elements creates a dream-like, yet hyper-real portrayal of a day in the life of a laundry worker, both past and present.

Princeton African-American Studies and History Professor Tera Hunter will join us for a post-screening discussion. Professor Hunter’s book To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War depicts the 1881 organization of African-American laundresses in Atlanta and was an inspiration for Sachs’ and Olesker’s filmThe Washing Society.

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