The Thousand Oaks Library will begin the new year with a cinematic bang.
As noted last week, three films will be presented in January--instead of the usual monthly Classic Cinema showings--during the library's 3rd annual Film Festival. The subject of the films is racial discrimination.
The 1987 movie "Cry Freedom" will be shown Jan. 12. It was directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline. Set in South Africa, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between black activist Steven Biko and liberal white newspaper editor Donald Woods.
Ola Washington, a professor of black history at Ventura College, will lead a discussion after the show.
"Black Like Me" (1964), the film version of the book with the same title, will be shown Jan. 19. It is the autobiographical story of John Howard Griffin, a reporter who chemically changed the color of his skin from white to black and recorded the prejudices he experienced while traveling through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
To wrap up the series, the film "A World Apart" (1988) will be featured Jan. 26. In this film, also set in South Africa, Barbara Hershey stars as a mother who is arrested for speaking out against apartheid, leaving her teen-age daughter alone amid the turmoil.
Festival organizer Amani Fliers said the recent surge in crimes against minorities in Ventura County makes the festival particularly timely and valuable.
"Even in Thousand Oaks and Calabasas and Simi Valley we have seen an increase in discrimination against Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Chinese, Vietnamese," she said. "Times are hard and we are seeing more discriminatory action."
The movies were selected because they represent three forms of discrimination.
"There is personal discrimination, discrimination in business and discrimination in society," Fliers said.
Each of the movies will begin at 7 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road. Admission is $2 for each movie.
On Jan. 6, the Ojai Film Society will show the critically acclaimed 1989 version of "Henry V," directed by and starring Kenneth Brannagh.
Brannagh received Academy Award nominations for both of his roles in the production. Show time is 4:30 p.m at the Ojai Playhouse.