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’s laundromats and the experiences of the people who work in them. Collaborating together for the first time, filmmaker (and returning MIFF favorite!) 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 To Joy My Freedom author Tera Hunter’s depiction of the 1881 organization of African-American laundresses in Atlanta, 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. 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.
Shown with Charlie Chaplin Lived Here.