Recommended Viewing: July 2010
- Published: 11 July 2010
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Check out this month's selection of DVDs for smart, creative thinkers.
Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
An audience sensation at film festivals worldwide, I Bring What I Love takes you behind the scenes and into the world of Africa's most famous musician: Youssou N'Dour. This never-before-told story follows N'Dour at a turning point in his life and career, as he releases his most personal and controversial album: Egypt.
The singers hope for promoting a more tolerant face of Islam erupts in scandal and outrage in his native country that rejects the album and denounces it as blasphemous. Part explosive documentary, part stirring drama, I Bring What I Love is an unforgettable musical journey with an artist whose conviction and courage shook the music industry and ultimately awakened the world.
Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love opens the door to a life filled with hope that began humbly with a respect for his family's storytelling tradition and the desire to share his joy of music and rose to become one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. From generations of griots comes a messenger for our time.
Waiting for Armageddon
Directors: Franco Sacchi, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
First Run Features
America’s 50-million strong Evangelical community is convinced that the world’s future is foretold in Biblical prophecy, from the Rapture to the Battle of Armageddon.
Waiting for Armageddon explores this apocalyptic worldview, from the homefront in America to the future battlefield of Israel.
By weaving Christian, Zionist, and Jewish perspectives along with telling archival materials, this eyeopening film also probes the potentially explosive alliance between Evangelical Christians and Israel...an alliance that may set the stage for what one Evangelical leader calls “World War III.”
A Delicate Balance
Director: Aaron Scheibner
Every person today has been touched or will be touched by the loss of a loved one to illness and premature death.
In a time when modern medicine and science have made such enormous advancements, why is this so?
This documentary will leave each person fully informed as to some of the causes these illnesses and offers ways of improving human health. This documentary predominantly explores the effects of animal protein on the human body and the environment.
The film identifies the effects of animal agriculture upon the environment. There are many ways of reducing impact upon climate change.
“Livestock are responsible for about 18 percent of the global warming effect, more than transportation’s contribution.”
“At present, there are about 1.5 billion cattle and domestic buffalo and about 1.7 billion sheep and goats. With pigs and poultry, they form a critical part of our enormous biological footprint upon this planet.”
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Through interviews with top experts in the field of medicine, ecology and nutrition, this documentary explains why people in the Western World are subject to the unprecedented epidemic of ill health.
The film shows a way out of this cycle of sickness, both human and environmental.
We don't think about where our food comes from and what it does to our body and mind or what impact it has on the world around us.
A Delicate Balance is a succinct production featuring candid, heartfelt interviews with some of the world's leading experts (including mainstream researchers, doctors, nutritionists, cattle ranchers, environmentalists and politicians) from Harvard to Cornell to Tufts.
A Delicate Balance was made in order to help reduce the unnecessary loss of human life, to reduce the suffering of animals across the planet and to help empower people to make environmental change.
Matthew Barney: No Restraint
Director: Alison Chernick
A voyage into the imagination of one of the century's most important artists
How does artist Matthew Barney use 45,000 pounds of petroleum jelly, a factory whaling vessel and traditional Japanese rituals to create his latest art project?
Barney plowed the waters off the coast of Nagasaki to film his massive endeavor, Drawing Restraint 9.
The documentary journeys to Japan with Barney and his collaborator Bjork, as the visual artist creates a “narrative sculpture” telling a fantastical love story of two characters that transform from land mammals into whales.
Directors: Jennifer Grausman & Mark Becker
First Run Features
There’s a force-of-nature at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. Her name is Wilma Stephenson and she runs an infamous Culinary Arts “boot camp” for students.
A teacher for 40 years, Wilma can be blunt and cantankerous – but beneath her tough exterior is a person who cares passionately about getting the best out of her kids.
Pressure Cooker documents an entire school year with Wilma and her students. At a school where over 40% of the students don’t even make it to their senior year, Wilma shows her kids how to achieve her version of the American dream: Choose a realistic goal. Work hard. Work the system. And get out of Northeast Philly.
At the end of the year, culinary students from all over Philly compete in a one-day cook-off, where top chefs judge the students’ skills and talent.
Scholarships are on the line; success will depend upon how dedicated they’ve been over the last year – enduring stressful home lives while still finding the motivation to wake up at 6am to get to class early enough to master crepes and tournée potatoes.
Chris & Don: A Love Story
Directors: Tina Mascara, Guido Santi
Chris & Don: A Love Story is the true-life story of the passionate three-decade relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood (whose Berlin Stories was the basis for all incarnations of the much-beloved Cabaret) and American portrait painter Don Bachardy, 30 years his junior.
From Isherwood’s Kit-Kat-Club years in Weimar-era Germany (the inspiration for his most famous work) to the couple’s first meeting on the sun-kissed beaches of 1950s Malibu, their against-all-odds saga is brought to dazzling life by a treasure trove of multimedia.
Bachardy’s contemporary reminiscences (in the Santa Monica home he shared with Isherwood until his death in 1986) artfully interact with archival footage, rare home movies (with glimpses of glitterati pals W.H. Auden, Igor Stravinsky and Tennessee Williams), reenactments, and, most sweetly, whimsical animations based on the cat-and-horse cartoons the pair used in their personal correspondence.
With Isherwood’s status as an out-and-proud gay maverick, and Bachardy’s eventual artistic triumph away from the considerable shadow of his life partner, this film is above all a joyful celebration of a most extraordinary couple.
DVDs selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.
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