Throughout the history of the cinema, the medium has held—simultaneously—the potential to be a means of promoting fantasy and of powerfully representing reality. How and when does the cinema become a part of the broader discourse on racism and social justice and also violence and sexuality? This course will use the “Social Problem film” genre--and its modern correlates--to discuss films’ representations of politics and questions of social justice. The course will focus and give much attention to questions of race in representation. It will ask students to think about film’s construction of racial problems and its evasions. It will ask: when and where is their representation deemed “too real” for the screen and therefore censored? What does reception tell us about these films? (When) do they incite to social action?