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Back You are here: Home Reviews DVDs Recommended Viewing: June 2011

Recommended Viewing: June 2011

DVDgenericCheck out this month's selection of DVDs for creative thinkers.









11 June 2011

Lethal Landscapes
Director: MPT
Available from
CD Universe

LethalLandscapesLethal Landscapes: Canvases of the Combat Artist is a documentary that explores the little-known world of the combat artist.

These soldier specialists are trained to paint, sketch and draw the terrors of battle, as well as the mundane moments in between.

The show's highlight is a female Marine artist, who, after graduating from Defense Information School (DINFOS) went to Iraq to capture on canvas what troops are experiencing. In the course of her tour, she had to put down her canvas, and return fire against the enemy.

The show also examines the history of military art from the Civil War through Iraq and Afghanistan.

Irene Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers
Director: Mary Skinner
Available from
Log In Productions

IreneSendlerIrena Sendler In The Name of Their Mothers is a documentary film about Polish heroine Irena Sendler and her wartime conspiracy of women who outfoxed the Nazis and saved the lives of thousands of Jewish children.

Sendler was a 29-year-old social worker when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. After Warsaw's Jews were imprisoned behind the ghetto walls without food or medicine, Sendler and those she most trusted smuggled aid in and began smuggling orphans out - hiding them in convents, orphanages and private homes in the city and the Polish countryside. Before the Nazis burned the ghetto to the ground, they rescued more than 2,500 children.

Irena Sendler was eventually captured by the Gestapo, imprisoned and tortured after refusing to divulge the identities of her co-workers. On the way to her execution, she escaped thanks to friends who managed to bribe a guard at the last moment.

Irena and her co-conspirators were silenced by the Communists who came to power after the Nazis. And they were afraid to speak out for many decades afterwards.

Now at last, their story can be told. Irena Sendler In The Name of Their Mothers features the last in-depth interview with Sendler before her death at the age of 98.

Rare archival footage, family photographs and evocative re-creations shot in Warsaw bring the lives of the hidden Jewish children, Sendler and her co-workers into dramatic focus.

The film is testament to the power of moral courage in the darkest of times.

Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter
Director: David Petersen
Available from
CD Universe

JourneyBonesettersJourney of the Bonesetter's Daughter follows the creation of the San Francisco Opera’s celebrated production of The Bonesetter’s Daughter, composed by Stewart Wallace with a libretto by Amy Tan and based on her bestselling book of the same name.

An ambitious, cross-cultural tour de force that brings together artists from China and the US, the opera tells a deeply moving story about the difficult but unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters inspired by Tan’s own family history.

Tan’s libretto draws heavily on the tragic suicide of Tan’s maternal grandmother, and explores the impact of the trauma on successive generations. “My grandmother was somebody who was forced into a subservient position,” Tan says. “She was raped, and the only way she could gain her power was to kill herself.”

The film follows Tan as she explores her past, traveling with her half sisters to the home in China where her grandmother lived and died. As the opera production is mounted, Tan grapples with how best to capture and preserve the emotional truth of her family story in the drama unfolding on stage.

Who Does She Think She Is
Director: Pamela Tanner Boll
Available from

WhodoesshethinkWho Does She Think She Is? is a riveting documentary by Academy Award-winning producer Pamela Tanner Boll (Born Into Brothels), which features five bold women who navigate some of the most problematic intersections of our time: parenting and creativity, partnering and independence, economics and art.

Through their lives Tanner Boll explores what it means to nurture children and family, and keep the creative fire burning within.

The film considers an era when women were revered as cultural muses, and the modern era when most people are unable to name a handful of female artists.

Tanner Boll’s energetic camera documents actual work, giving us a feel for the creative process. In interviews with the artists, and in some cases, their families, Boll raises important questions about how art is valued in our culture. Can women follow their artistic instincts and still function as wives and mothers?

Pamela Tanner Boll s articulate documentary answers that question with a qualified yes.

Inside Job
Director: Charles Ferguson
Available from
CD Universe

InsideJobOscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson clearly shows that the 2008 global financial Armageddon was no accident. It was predicted and could have been prevented.

This compelling, serious, easy-to-follow film will make you want to raise your voice and declare..."Enough!"

Producer/director Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight) speaks at length with journalists, politicians, and financial insiders in order to offer a clearer picture of the economic meltdown that hit America starting in 2008.

Academy Award winner Matt Damon narrates this unflinching look at the deep-rooted corruption that has left millions of middle-class Americans jobless and homeless as the major corporations get bailed out while paying millions in bonuses.

Waste Land
Director: Lucy Walker
Available from

WasteLandFilmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

There he photographs an eclectic band of ‘catadores’ – or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to ‘paint’ the catadores with garbage.

However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives.

Walker (Devil’s Playground, Blindsight, Countdown to Zero) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.


DVDs selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.



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