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Current Films and Videos, Volume 51, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2007)
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Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)

Acknowledgements: St. Lawrence University Libraries for financial and technical support.

General | Africa | Americas | Asia and Oceania | Europe | Distributor Information

General

Music Moves the World: The Power and Passion of Rhythm, Melody, and Dance. 2004. Produced by Jorge Sánchez Gallo (Spain). Distributed by Films for the Humanities & Sciences. VHS, DVD, and streaming video, 52 min. Survey of the role of music in human society, with attention to how music is used by populations ranging from Senufo weavers to soccer fans. [Jorge Sanchez Gallo]

Oh What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me. 2003. Directed by John Bishop and Harald Prins (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS and DVD, 52 min. Taking its title from the 1972 book by Edmund Carpenter, this film relates the ways native peoples engage with media, following the premise that media has the ability to help native peoples document their own cultures, but it also has the power to encroach upon those cultures and irreversibly alter them.

Screening Room with Alan Lomax. 2005 (1975). Directed by Robert Gardner (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. DVD and download, 75 min. Re-release of this episode of the series that aired on WCVB-TV in Boston between 1973 and 1980. Lomax discusses choreometrics and screens the film Dance and Human History.

Africa

An African Brass Band. 2006 (2004). Directed by Hugo Zemp (France). Distributed by Supor XAO. DVD, 72 min. English-language version of Une fanfare africaine. The performance of a brass band at religious and profane festivities in southern Côte d’Ivoire, with a spirited discussion about tradition and musical change in the modern world. In English and French with English subtitles. [Cote d’Ivoire]

Jean Rouch—Premier Film, 1947-1991. 1991. Directed by Dominique Dubosc (France). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 27 min. Rouch talks about his beginnings as a filmmaker and finishes, at last, his first film, Au pays des mages noirs/In the Land of the Black Magi, of a Songhay possession dance in Niger. In English and French with English subtitles.

Siaka, an African Musician. 2005. Directed by Hugo Zemp (France). Distributed by Supor XAO. DVD, 78 min. English-language version of Siaka, un musician africain. A portrait of a Senufo/Mande professional urban musician playing five instruments in the city of Bouaké (Côte d’Ivoire, former Ivory Coast) for local festivities. In English and French with English subtitles. [Bouake Cote d’Ivoire]

Americas

American Hardcore. 2007. Directed by Paul Rachman (USA). Distributed by Sony Pictures. DVD, 100 min. Set against the political landscape of the early 1980s, this film traces the development of the U.S. punk scene. Inspired by the book, American Hardcore: A Tribal History, by Steven Blush (2001), and featuring live footage of performances by Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, DOA, the Adolescents, and others.

The Appalachians. 2005. Produced by Phylis Geller (USA). Distributed by Films for the Humanities & Sciences. DVD and streaming video, 159 min. Three-part series on the political, economic, musical, and religious history of the Appalachian region: (1) The First Frontier; (2) The Fight for Land and Work; and (3) A Culture of Survival.

Beyond Beats and Rhymes. 2006. Directed by Byron Hurt (USA). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 60 min. Examination of issues of masculinity, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Includes interviews with Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, and Russell Simmons.

The Dancing Chickens of Ventura Fabian/Las gallinas danzantes de Ventura Fabian. 2006. Directed by Nina Hasin (Mexico/USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 10 min. A lively visit with master woodcarver Ventura Fabian and his family in the village of San Martin Tilcajete in Oaxaca. Combines documentary footage of home and village life, interviews, and animated musical segments of Don Ventura’s whimsical creations. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Land of Look Behind. 2007 (1982). Directed by Alan Greenberg (USA). Distributed by Subversive Cinema. DVD, 90 min. Re-release of this film made by cohorts of Werner Herzog in 1981. Jim Jarmusch, on selecting the film for screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2001, noted, "Greenberg’s initial intention, to my knowledge, was purely to capture Bob Marley’s funeral, and the impact of his death on the island’s culture. But somehow, like an unusual tropical blossom, the film unfolds into something more striking and beautiful than maybe even Greenberg himself expected. It becomes an organic portrait of the very soul of Jamaica, and the earthy persuasive substrata of Rastafarianism.”

Screening Room with Les Blank. 2005 (1973). Directed by Robert Gardner (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. DVD, 75 min. Re-release of this episode of the series that aired on WCVB-TV in Boston between 1973 and 1980. Blank discusses his recent work and screens The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, along with footage from what later comprised Dry Wood and Hot Pepper.

Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen. 2003. Directed by Larry Weinstein (USA). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 72 min. Dramatized account of Arlen’s last years, featuring performances by Sandra Bernhard, Debbie Harry, Eric Mingus, Rufus Wainright, and others.

Asia and Oceania

Musafir. 2004. Directed by Pierre-Yves Perez and Cedric Dupire (France). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 84 min. Focuses on the group, Musafir, which is made up of a loose collective of Rajasthani folk musicians selected and organized by tabla player Hameed Khan. The film begins with a look at a training session in Jaipur, continues with biographies of the musicians, and concludes with footage from the group’s tour of Europe.

ShaktiMa no Veh. 2006. Directed by Jayasinhji Jhala (India/USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 60 min. Presents the story of Shaktima as performed by the traditional Muslim Bhavai troup led by Amrit Kalu Rudatala of Kankavati village (Gujarat, India) on 11 July 2004. In Gujarati, Sanskrit, and Dingal with English subtitles.

Singing Pictures. 2005. Directed by Lina Fruzzetti, Ákos Östör, and Aditi Nath Sarkar (India/USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 40 min. Follows the daily lives of a group of Patua women in a village in West Bengal who recently founded a scroll painters’ collaborative to sustain their work. In the past, scroll painters would perform their work in villages, unrolling them a frame at a time while singing their own compositions; however, competition from other media has eroded this way of life. The women of the collective discuss the problems and rewards of practicing their art, and speak freely about the social, religious, and political changes in the village and the world beyond.

The Snake Charmer. 2004. Directed by Alex M. Goldblum (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS, DVD, and download, 15 min. Short ethnography outlining the family history and magical roots of a group of nomadic Rajasthani snake charmers, or Madari. Shot in the summer of 2005 on the outskirts of the town of Dhrangadhra, Gujarat.

A Weekend in the Country: A History of the Meredith Music Festival. 2006. Directed by Robert McCafferty (Australia). Distributed by Madman Entertainment. DVD (PAL), 100 min. From 1991 to 2005, the annual Meredith Music Festival grew from a small party in rural Victoria, Australia, into one of the most unique and beloved music festivals in the world. Narrated by the festival organizers and Jack and Mary Nolan (the farmers who own the land where the festival takes place), this feature-length documentary uses footage drawn from home videos, personal photos, TV broadcasts, and Super-8 diaries to show how the festival took on a life of its own.

Europe

Dont Look Back. 2007 (1967). Directed by D. A. Pennebaker (USA). Distributed by New Video. DVD, 96 min. Remastered re-release of this classic documentary following Bob Dylan on his three-week tour of England in the spring on 1965.

Funeral Chants from the Georgian Caucasus. 2007. Directed by Hugo Zemp (France). Distributed by Supor XAO. DVD, 21 min. English-language version of Chants funéraires du Caucase géorgien. Individual women’s and men’s lament punctuated by collective cries like in ancient Greece, and polyphonic men’s choral singing expressing grief without words and cries other than stylized. In English and Svan with English subtitles. [Chants funeraires du Caucase georgien]

Mixing: World Music and Found Music. 2002. Directed by Colin Izod (UK). Distributed by Films for the Humanities & Sciences. VHS and DVD, 20 min. Comparative study of the use of digital technology by Asian Underground artist Talvin Singh and British composer Jocelyn Pook.

Distributor Information

Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, MA 02472
800.569.6621
fax: 617.926.9519
http://www.der.org

Films for the Humanities & Sciences
PO Box 2053
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053
800.257.5126
fax: 609.275.3767
http://www.films.com

Insight Media
2162 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
212.721,6316
fax: 212.799.5309
http://www.insight-media.com

Madman Entertainment
1-35 Wellington Street
Collingwood, Victoria
Australia, 3066
61.3.9417.0977
fax: 61.3.9418.7388
http://www.madman.com.au

New Video
902 Broadway
9th Floor
New York, NY 10010
800.314.8822
fax: 212.206.8600
http://www.newvideo.com

Sony Pictures
http://www.sonypictures.com

Subversive Cinema
1037 Northeast 65th Street #200
Seattle, WA 98155
http://subversivecinema.com

Supor XAO
36 rue du Moulin de la Planche
91140 Villebon sur Yvette
France
suporxao@free.fr
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