[Videolib] films dealing with human rights

Katherine Litwin (klitwin@facets.org)
Fri, 21 Mar 2003 16:02:48 -0600

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Here is my list of documentaries, I hope you find it useful.

1.Shoah
Claude Lanzmann's landmark, monumental epic of the Holocaust, a 9 hour
assemblage of witnesses--death camp survivors and Nazi functionaries--whose
combined testimony amounts to one of the most shattering human documents
ever
recorded. French with English subtitles.
Claude Lanzmann---France---1985---570 mins.

2. Titticut Follies

Highly controversial documentary chronicaling life inside a Massachusetts
institution for mentally ill convicts. This film was kept for years from the
public eye due to its portrayal of abuses of the mentally ill at the hands
of the guards and doctors.

Fredrick Wiseman---US---1967---

3.Blacks Britannica
One of the most charged and controversial films of recent years, "a
relentless, hard-hitting exposure of the racial and economic oppression of
Britain's black population, together with their militant resistance" (Clyde
Taylor). The scheduled broadcast on PBS was cancelled, and for the next four
years, under a federal court injunction, it could not legally be seen by
more
than 19 persons at one time. It was condemned as a "danger" by officials of
the British government, and its premiere run in a London cinema was stopped
by
court order. An international campaign to defend the film ultimately
succeeded
in freeing it from all restrictions. <i>Blacks Britannica</i> presents an
analysis of racism within the context of British history and the post-war
crises of British economy. It reflects the resistance of the Black
community to escalating attacks on it, both by organized fascist elements on
the streets and by successive British governments.
David Koff---Great Britain---1978---58 mins.

4. Field Diary
An explosive, shocking, and profound film. Set mostly in the West Bank
before
and during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon (some scenes were also shot
there), <i>Field Diary</i> explores, as the film states it, "how the
occupation
manifests itself, and how violence against the Palestinians is
legitimized."
With its in-your-face interference with soldiers and its unique and
profoundly
haunting counterpoint of sound and image, <i>Field Diary</i> is a daring
and
brutally on-the-edge film. Its earliest screenings were greeted with
vicious
anger from armed Israeli soldiers; the aftermath leading to director Amos
Gitai's decade-long exile from Israel. In Hebrew and Arabic with English
Amos Gitai---Israel/France---1982---83 mins.

5. The Journey, complete set
Years in the making, filmed in 14 countries, and with a running time of
slightly over 14 hours, The Journey, from director Peter Watkins (The War
Game, Battle of Culloden), is the most powerful and definitive film to date
on the nuclear arms race and the threat of nuclear war. At the heart of this
epic, seven-part documentary are Watkins' extended conversations with family
groups and cultures around the world: the gripping, personal recollections
of survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Hamburg during World War II,
and the dramatizations of evacuation scenarios by community groups in
Norway, the USA, Scotland and Australia. With The Journey Watkins was
determined to break down the wall we commonly place between ourselves and
the suffering of others; the result is a truly remarkable and uncompromising
film. It is composed of seven volumes, which may be purchased individually
or as a set.
Complete seven-volume set. 870 mins.

6.Night and Fog
Francois Truffaut called it the greatest film of all time. It is certainly
one
of the most powerful. Alain Resnais' searing, unforgettable film on Nazi
concentration camps is a devastating record of man's inhumanity to man and
perhaps the definitive cinematic statement on the Holocaust. Weaving images
of
the abandoned camp at Auschwitz with newsreel footage of the atrocities that
occurred there, Resnais created a film that plays like a collective, haunted
memory. Chris Marker served as an assistant director and editor. In French
Alain Resnais---France---1955---32 mins.

7. The Gleaners and I
Agnes Varda's engaging, personal documentary looks at all levels of
gleaning,
or scavenging, in various parts of France. Varda visits with those who pick
from already harvested fields in order to survive, as well as those who do
it
simply as a pastime or because they are offended by the waste. She also
looks
at those who use discarded materials in their artwork, urban gleaners who
find
nutritious foods in garbage cans, and others. As the director salutes this
individualistic and idealistic activity, she contemplates how her own art
form
is really an act of gleaning images and putting found objects to use. Named
Best Documentary by the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film
Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Chicago
International Film Festival. Shot on digital video. In French with English
Agnes Varda---France---2000---82 mins.

8.The Anna Akhmatova File
A moving portrait of the extraordinary Soviet poet, Anna Akhmatova. Although
her work was banned and went unpublished for 17 years, her poem "Requiem"
became the underground anthem for the millions who suffered under Stalin.
This
unique film, which uses Akhmatova's diaries for text, also includes
portraits
of Akhmatova's friends and contemporaries--Boris Pasternak, Vladimir
Mayakovsky, Mikhail Sostchenko. Russian with English subtitles.
Semyon Aranovich---USSR---1989---65 mins

9.Notorious Nobodies (Illustres Inconnus)
Winner of the Camera Award, <i>Notorious Nobodies</i>, wrote filmmaker
Costa-Gavras, "attempts to describe for us the struggle of men and women
around the world to save what is most precious to them: their
dignityàneither
a plea nor a denunciation but rather an original cinema of exceptional
quality, a tragedy about human destiny." Comprised of eight individual
stories
taking place on the same day in far-flung corners of the globe,
<i>Notorious
Nobodies </i>is "a chronicle of emotions and images of an era, with horror
mad
e banal, abrasive humor, and above all, hope dotted throughout. <i>Notorious
Nobodies </i>is a report both impartial and exhilarating, a film which is
humble and ambitious." The eight sequences of the film are set in Prague,
Munich, Paris, Vietnam, Geneva, Montevideo, Zaire and France. French with
Stanislav Stanojevic---France---1986---102 mins.

And a few Narratives:

Carla's Song
A piercing, emotional film from director Ken Loach, marked by his continued
commitment to dramatic realism and political consciousness. Robert Carlyle
(<i>The Full Monty</i>, <i>Trainspotting</i>) plays a Scottish bus driver
who
meets and falls in love with a troubled Nicaraguan refugee. He returns
with
her to her native country to find out what happened to her former lover,
who
was beaten and tortured by the Contras. Scott Glenn co-stars as a former
CIA
operative who reveals the dark truth about the U.S. backing of the rebels
Ken Loach---Great Britain---1996---127 mins.

And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him (ày no se lo trago la tierra)
Based on Tomas Rivera's classic novella, this is the beautiful and moving
semi-autobiographical account of 12-year-old Marcos Gonzales (Jose Alcala),
the son of Mexican-American migrant workers in the 1950s, and their annual
ritual of leaving Crystal City, Texas, for the harvest season work that will
take them throughout the midwest during summer and fall. Reminscent of <i>To
Kill a Mockingbird</i> or <i>Catcher in the Rye</i>. "An epic story of
survivalàaffecting and beautifully photographed" (Kevin Thomas, <i>The Los
Severo Perez---USA---1994---99 mins.
¦

The Accused
A stern public prosecutor (Kelly McGillis) takes on a gang-rape case and
tries
to go simply by the book. But the victim, played powerfully by Jodie Foster
(in a performance that earned her an Academy Award), refuses to make things
easy, requiring full retribution for what she has suffered. Eventually, they
begin to trust one another, and work together to put those responsible
behind
bars. Based on a notorious real-life case.
Jonathan Kaplan---USA---1988---110 mins.

Rosetta
Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes and critically acclaimed around the
world,
i>Rosetta</i> is a profound, uncompromisingly realistic portrait of a young
girl trying to survive a life of poverty. Desperate to get a job, suffering
from stomach cramps and aggressively protective and critical of her
alcoholic
mother, she grasps at the slightest glimpse of hope--a job at a waffle
stand.
"This may sound like the grimmest sort of neo-realism, but the Dardennes
keep
the story so ruthlessly unsentimental and physical it would be a disservice
to
describe it as neo anything...it makes just about every other form of movie
'realism' around at the moment look like trivial escapism" (Jonathan
Rosenbaum, <i>Chicago Reader</i>). Newcomer Emilie Dequenne won Best
Actress
honors at Cannes. In French with English subtitles.
¦ Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne---Belgium/France---1999---95 mins.

By the way- many of the exceptional documentaries of Fredrick Wiseman, such
as DOMESTIC VILOENCE, PUBLIC HOUSING, and TITTICUT FOLLIES (mentioned above)
deal with human rights issues, but they are not available for home use and
can only be viewed at public screenings. I thought, though, that they bore
mentioning.

Katherine Litwin
Sales Representative
Libraries & Educational Accounts
klitwin@facets.org
****************************************************************************
************
Facets Multi-Media Inc.
1517 W Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
Sales: 800-331-6197
General: 773-281-9075
Fax: 773-929-5437
****************************************************************************
************
Visit the FACETS web site to search for titles, directors, genres and more!
The entire FACETS collection of over 50,000 titles on VHS & DVD is on-line
at www.facets.org.
****************************************************************************
************
FACETS FIRST: a weekly e-mail update of our newest VHS & DVD acquisitions is
a free service. To subscribe, send your request to webmaster@facets.org.

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Here is=20 my list of documentaries, I hope you find it useful.

1.Shoah
Claude Lanzmann's landmark, monumental epic of the Holocaust, a = 9 =20 hour
assemblage of witnesses--death camp survivors and Nazi=20 functionaries--whose
combined testimony amounts to one of the most = shattering=20 human documents ever
recorded. French with English = subtitles.
Claude=20 Lanzmann---France---1985---570 mins.

2.=20 Titticut Follies

Highly controversial documentary chronicaling life inside a = Massachusetts=20 institution for mentally ill convicts. This film was kept for years from = the=20 public eye due to its portrayal of abuses of the mentally ill at the = hands of=20 the guards and doctors.

Fredrick=20 Wiseman---US---1967---

3.Blacks Britannica
One of the most = charged=20 and controversial films of recent years, "a
relentless, hard-hitting = exposure=20 of the racial and economic oppression of
Britain's black population, = together=20 with their militant resistance" (Clyde
Taylor). The scheduled = broadcast on=20 PBS was cancelled, and for the next four
years, under a federal court = injunction, it could not legally be seen by more
than 19 persons at = one time.=20 It was condemned as a "danger" by officials of
the British = government, and=20 its premiere run in a London cinema was stopped by
court order. An=20 international campaign to defend the film ultimately succeeded
in = freeing it=20 from all restrictions. <i>Blacks Britannica</i> presents=20 an
 analysis of racism within the context of British history and = the=20 post-war
 crises of British economy. It reflects the resistance = of the=20 Black community to escalating attacks on it, both by organized = fascist=20 elements on the streets and
 by=20 successive British governments. 
David Koff---Great = Britain---1978---58=20 mins.
4. Field Diary
An explosive, shocking, and profound film. Set = mostly in=20 the West Bank before
and during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon = (some=20 scenes were also shot
there), <i>Field Diary</i> = explores, as the=20 film states it, "how the occupation
 manifests itself, and how = violence=20 against the Palestinians is legitimized."
 With its in-your-face = interference with soldiers and its unique and = profoundly
 haunting=20 counterpoint of sound and image, <i>Field Diary</i> is a = daring=20 and
  brutally on-the-edge film. Its earliest screenings were = greeted=20 with vicious
  anger from armed Israeli soldiers; the aftermath = leading=20 to director Amos
  Gitai's decade-long exile from Israel. In = Hebrew and=20 Arabic with English
  Amos Gitai---Israel/France---1982---83=20 mins.
 
5. The Journey, complete=20 set
Years in the making, filmed in 14 = countries,=20 and with a running time of slightly over 14 hours, The Journey, = from=20 director Peter Watkins (The War Game, Battle of Culloden), is the = most=20 powerful and definitive film to date on the nuclear arms race and the = threat of=20 nuclear war. At the heart of this epic, seven-part documentary are = Watkins'=20 extended conversations with family groups and cultures around the world: = the=20 gripping, personal recollections of survivors of the bombing of = Hiroshima and=20 Hamburg during World War II, and the dramatizations of evacuation = scenarios by=20 community groups in Norway, the USA, Scotland and Australia. With The = Journey Watkins was determined to break down the wall we commonly = place=20 between ourselves and the suffering of others; the result is a truly = remarkable=20 and uncompromising film. It is composed of seven volumes, which may be = purchased=20 individually or as a set.
Complete seven-volume = set. 870=20 mins.
 
6.Night and Fog
Francois Truffaut called it the greatest film of = all=20 time. It is certainly one
of the most powerful. Alain Resnais' = searing,=20 unforgettable film on Nazi
concentration camps is a devastating = record of=20 man's inhumanity to man and
perhaps the definitive cinematic = statement on the=20 Holocaust. Weaving images of
the abandoned camp at Auschwitz with = newsreel=20 footage of the atrocities that
occurred there, Resnais created a film = that=20 plays like a collective, haunted
memory. Chris Marker served as an = assistant=20 director and editor. In French
Alain Resnais---France---1955---32=20 mins.
7. The Gleaners = and I
Agnes=20 Varda's engaging, personal documentary looks at all levels of = gleaning,
or=20 scavenging, in various parts of France. Varda visits with those who = pick
from=20 already harvested fields in order to survive, as well as those who do=20 it
simply as a pastime or because they are offended by the waste. She = also=20 looks
at those who use discarded materials in their artwork, urban = gleaners=20 who find
nutritious foods in garbage cans, and others. As the = director=20 salutes this
individualistic and idealistic activity, she = contemplates how=20 her own art form
is really an act of gleaning images and putting = found=20 objects to use. Named
Best Documentary by the National Society of = Film=20 Critics, the New York Film
Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film = Critics=20 Association, and the Chicago
International Film Festival. Shot on = digital=20 video. In French with English
Agnes Varda---France---2000---82=20 mins.
 
8.The Anna Akhmatova File
A = moving=20 portrait of the extraordinary Soviet poet, Anna Akhmatova. = Although
her work=20 was banned and went unpublished for 17 years, her poem = "Requiem"
became the=20 underground anthem for the millions who suffered under Stalin. = This
unique=20 film, which uses Akhmatova's diaries for text, also includes = portraits
of=20 Akhmatova's friends and contemporaries--Boris Pasternak, = Vladimir
Mayakovsky,=20 Mikhail Sostchenko. Russian with English subtitles.
Semyon=20 Aranovich---USSR---1989---65 mins
 
9.Notorious Nobodies (Illustres = Inconnus)
Winner=20 of the Camera Award, <i>Notorious Nobodies</i>, wrote=20 filmmaker
 Costa-Gavras, "attempts to describe for us the = struggle of=20 men and women
 around the world to save what is most precious to = them:=20 their dignity=E0neither
 a plea nor a denunciation but rather an = original=20 cinema of exceptional
 quality, a tragedy about human destiny."=20 Comprised of eight individual stories
 taking place on the same = day in=20 far-flung corners of the globe, <i>Notorious
 Nobodies=20 </i>is "a chronicle of emotions and images of an era, with horror = mad
e=20 banal, abrasive humor, and above all, hope dotted throughout.=20 <i>Notorious
  Nobodies </i>is a report both = impartial and=20 exhilarating, a film which is
   humble and ambitious." The = eight=20 sequences of the film are set in Prague,
   Munich, Paris, = Vietnam,=20 Geneva, Montevideo, Zaire and France. French with
   = Stanislav=20 Stanojevic---France---1986---102 mins.
 
And a few = Narratives:
 
Carla's Song
A piercing, emotional = film from=20 director Ken Loach, marked by his continued
commitment to dramatic = realism=20 and political consciousness. Robert Carlyle
(<i>The Full=20 Monty</i>, <i>Trainspotting</i>) plays a Scottish bus = driver=20 who
  meets and falls in love with a troubled Nicaraguan = refugee. He=20 returns with
  her to her native country to find out what = happened to=20 her former lover, who
  was beaten and tortured by the Contras. = Scott=20 Glenn co-stars as a former CIA
  operative who reveals the dark = truth=20 about the U.S. backing of the rebels
  Ken Loach---Great=20 Britain---1996---127 mins.
 
 
 
And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him = (=E0y no se=20 lo trago la tierra)
Based on Tomas Rivera's classic novella, this is = the=20 beautiful and moving
semi-autobiographical account of 12-year-old = Marcos=20 Gonzales (Jose Alcala),
the son of Mexican-American migrant workers = in the=20 1950s, and their annual
ritual of leaving Crystal City, Texas, for = the=20 harvest season work that will
take them throughout the midwest during = summer=20 and fall. Reminscent of <i>To
Kill a Mockingbird</i> or=20 <i>Catcher in the Rye</i>. "An epic story of
 =20 survival=E0affecting and beautifully photographed" (Kevin Thomas, = <i>The=20 Los
  Severo = Perez---USA---1994---99=20 mins.
 
The Accused
A stern public = prosecutor=20 (Kelly McGillis) takes on a gang-rape case and tries
to go simply by = the=20 book. But the victim, played powerfully by Jodie Foster
(in a = performance=20 that earned her an Academy Award), refuses to make things
easy, = requiring=20 full retribution for what she has suffered. Eventually, they
begin to = trust=20 one another, and work together to put those responsible behind
bars. = Based on=20 a notorious real-life case.
Jonathan Kaplan---USA---1988---110=20 mins.
 
Rosetta
Winner of the Palme d'Or at = Cannes and=20 critically acclaimed around the world,
i>Rosetta</i> is a = profound,=20 uncompromisingly realistic portrait of a young
 girl trying to = survive a=20 life of poverty. Desperate to get a job, suffering
 from stomach = cramps=20 and aggressively protective and critical of her = alcoholic
 mother, she=20 grasps at the slightest glimpse of hope--a job at a waffle = stand.
 "This=20 may sound like the grimmest sort of neo-realism, but the Dardennes=20 keep
 the story so ruthlessly unsentimental and physical it = would be a=20 disservice to
 describe it as neo anything...it makes just about = every=20 other form of movie
 'realism' around at the moment look like = trivial=20 escapism" (Jonathan
 Rosenbaum, <i>Chicago = Reader</i>).=20 Newcomer Emilie Dequenne won Best Actress
 honors at Cannes. In = French=20 with English subtitles.
│  Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc=20 Dardenne---Belgium/France---1999---95 mins.
 
 By the way- many of the = exceptional=20 documentaries of Fredrick Wiseman, = such as=20 DOMESTIC VILOENCE, PUBLIC HOUSING, and TITTICUT FOLLIES (mentioned = above) deal=20 with human rights issues, but they are not available for home use and = can only=20 be viewed at public screenings. I thought, though, that they bore=20 mentioning.
 
Katherine = Litwin
Sales = Representative
Libraries & = Educational=20 Accounts
klitwin@facets.org
****************************************************************= ************************
Facets Multi-Media = Inc.
1517 W Fullerton = Avenue
Chicago, IL  = 60614
Sales: = 800-331-6197
General: = 773-281-9075
Fax: = 773-929-5437
****************************************************************= ************************
Visit the=20 FACETS web site to search for titles, directors, genres and more!  = The=20 entire FACETS collection of over 50,000 titles on VHS & DVD is = on-line at=20 www.facets.org.
****************************************************************= ************************
FACETS FIRST: a weekly = e-mail update=20 of our newest VHS & DVD acquisitions is a free service.  To = subscribe,=20 send your request to webmaster@facets.org.
 
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