UT's sociology department is using film to open dialogue on today's sociological issues in a series called "A Sociologist at the Movies."

The first film, "The Trial," will be shown Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodges Library auditorium.

Joel Crombez, the film series coordinator, said he hopes the series will provide a forum to discuss sociology in a modern and culturally-based context.

"Our goal with the film series is to open up a wider conversation with the UT community on sociological topics and contemporary concerns," said Crombez, who also doubles as a graduate teaching associate in the sociology department. "While traditionally the series has focused on specific social issues through the viewing documentary films, this semester, we are looking at some of the larger issues relating to life in modern society as reflected in many fiction-based movies."

Although these movies are "fiction-based," Anitra Selmon, senior in sociology, said they can provide an interesting perspective on sociology and the way people interact with one another.

"I think you can see sociological concepts in everything, even movies," Selmon said. "Examples of that include social class, social institutions, social norms, and the values we place on things."

Selmon said she never really noticed those things until she became a sociology major.

"If we see a movie where there's a low class worker wanting to move up in the company, and his boss is a prominent business man, we usually don't analyze it conscientiously," Selmon explained. "But if we do, you can see that there is a class struggle. They have two different statuses and therefore two different roles in society. This is part of our social system."

"The Trial," the first film in the series, was originally written as a novel by Franz Kafka circa 1914 and was later adapted to the screen by acclaimed "Citizen Kane" director Orson Welles in 1962.

"While the film did not have the same commercial success as Welles' other masterpieces, he stated publicly that he viewed this as his best film," Crombez said. "It features the protagonist Josef K. who awakes one morning and is arrested; his entire life is changed by this single event, although he is never told what his crime is."