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Current Films and Videos, Volume 49, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2005)
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Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)

This installment of the film/videography includes also a number of older films from Documentary Educational Resources that did not appear in earlier issues.

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

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


Cesaria Evora: Morna Blues. 2004. Directed by Anaïs Prosaïc and Eric Mulet (France). Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 60 mins. Depiction of the life of the "barefoot diva” from Cape Verde, including also footage of a recent performance in Louisiana and a recording session in New York. Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie. In Portuguese and French with English subtitles.

Salif Keita, citoyen ambassadeur. 2004 (1999). Directed by Jean Pierre Limosin (France). Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 50 mins. Biographical study of the renowned Malian musician, with complete performances of "Yelen’na,” "Sina,” "Folon,” and "Mandjou.” Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie. In French with English subtitles.


Bluegrass Journey. 2003. Directed by Ruth Oxenberg and Rob Schumer (USA). Distributed by Blue Stores Films. VHS and DVD, 86 mins. Documentary of the contemporary bluegrass scene, shot primarily at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Ancramdale, New York, and the annual World of Bluegrass events in Louisville, Kentucky. Includes performances by the Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek, the Peter Rowan Texas Trio, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and others.

Carlinhos Brown. 2004.Directed by Claude Santiago (USA).Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. DVD, 52 mins. Profile of the Brazilian popular musician, featuring performances of "Uma Brasileira,” "Vide Gal,” and "A Namorada.” Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie.

Compay Segundo. 2003. Directed by Claude Santiago (France). Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 60 mins. Biography of the noted Cuban musician featured in Buena Vista Social Club, who died at the age of 95 in 2003. Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie.

F.E.D.S.2003. Directed by Kwame Amouku (USA).Distributed by Image Entertainment. DVD, 86 mins. Hip-hop documentary shot in association with F.E.D.S. Magazine (an acronym for "Finally Every Dimension of the Streets”), with segments featuring Alejandro Alonso, Antoine Clark, PeeWee Kirkland, and T. Rodgers, and music by D.N.A.

The Great American Songbook. 2003. Directed by Andrew J. Kuehn (USA). Distributed by Warner Home Video. VHS and DVD, 174 mins. History of American popular song hosted by Michael Feinstein, with performance footage of Bessie Smith, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, Judy Garland, and others.

Gunsmoke Blues. 2004. Produced by Toby Byron (USA). Distributed by Universal Music & Video. DVD, 140 mins. Documentary assembled out of 1971 footage shot by Link Wyler and other members of the Gunsmoke TV crew of blues performances by Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner, and George "Harmonica” Smith.

Jimmy Cliff.2003 (1996). Directed by Francois Bergeron (USA). Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 60 mins. Biographical sketch of the well-known Jamaican singer. Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie.

Mayor of the Sunset Strip. 2004 (2003). Directed by George Hickenlooper (USA). Distributed by First Look Home Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 94 mins. The second highest-selling documentary of all time, after Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine (2002), this film revolves around the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, Los Angeles-based impresario and DJ for alternative radio station KROQ. Described by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice as "engaging, if ultimately wearisome,” the film features a lengthy credited cast that includes Tori Amos, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, Courtney Love, Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Rob Zombie, and many more.

The MC: Why We Do It. 2005. Directed by Peter Spirer (USA). Distributed by Image Entertainment. DVD, 77 mins. Documentary of the work of hip-hop MCs, narrated by actor Mekhi Phifer and featuring performances by and interviews with Kanye West, Nas, Ghostface Killah, 50 Cent, Raekwon, and others.

Morris Family Old Time Music Festival. 1980. Directed by Robert Gates (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. 16mm, VHS, and DVD, 30 mins. Film of a 1972 music festival held at the home of John and Dave Morris in Ivydale, West Virginia, featuring performances by John Martin, Aunt Minnie Moss, Uncle Homer Walker, and others.

Only the Strong Survive: A Celebration of Soul. 2004 (2002). Directed by D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (USA). Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 95 mins. A where-are-they-now film featuring the likes of Jerry Butler, Isaac Hayes, Ann Peebles, Wilson Pickett, Carla and Rufus Thomas, and Mary Wilson. In the interviews he conducts in the film, entertainment journalist Roger Friedman spends his time "tossing questions as squishy as Jell-O and heaping praise on the performers for their unexceptional appearances on the oldies circuit,” writes James Sullivan of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Real Buddy Holly Story. 2004 (1985). Directed by Richard Spence (UK). Distributed by White Star. VHS and DVD, 86 mins. Re-release of the 1985 BBC documentary hosted by Paul McCartney. Includes interviews with Keith Richards, Sonny Curtis, Phil and Don Everly, and the widow of Norman Petty.

El Rey del Bandolin/The Mandolin King. 1985. Directed by John Dickinson (Argentina). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS and DVD, 28 mins. Film about Cruz Quinal, an instrument maker and musician living near Cumana, Venezuela.

A Sigh and a Wish: Helen Creighton’s Maritimes. 2001. Directed by Donna Davies (Canada). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS and DVD, 73 mins. Film documenting folklorist Helen Creighton’s work collecting folklore and music, primarily in eastern Canada.

Tough, Pretty or Smart. 1981. Directed by Richard Kane and Dillon Bustin (USA). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. 16mm, VHS, and DVD, 29 mins. Portrayal of the Patoka Valley Boys, a six-member string band from rural Indiana.

Asia and Oceania

Cowboy & Maria in Town. 1991. Directed by Les McLaren & Annie Stiven (Australia). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. VHS and DVD, 59 mins. A film that tells the story of two migrants to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea: Maria scrapes by on her husband’s income as a security guard while Cowboy supports his family by playing his homemade electric guitar on street corners.

Mythical Tunes of Biwa: Yoshiko Sakata. 2003. Directed by Akio Ishiba (Japan). Distributed by Films for the Humanities and Sciences. VHS and DVD, 48 mins. Performances of classical songs and original compositions by Yoshiko Sakata; narrated by Katie Adler. In English and Japanese with English voiceovers or subtitles.


The Berlin Philharmonic Story: Views of a Free Orchestral Republic. 2005 (2001). Directed by Günter Atteln (Germany). Distributed by EuroArts. DVD, 60 mins. Documentary of the history of the Berlin Philharmonic from the end of the nineteenth century to the present through interviews, archival recordings, and excerpts of performances. In German or English.

Cheb Mami: The Kid. 2004. Directed by Eric Sandrin (USA). Distributed by Shanachie Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 60 mins. Tour of the North African quarter of Paris with the "Prince of Rai.” Part of the World Music Portraits series from Shanachie.

Distributor Information

Blue Stores Films
80 John Bay Road
Germantown, NY 12526

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Department CS
Burbank, CA 91521

DocumentaryEducational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, MA 02472

EuroArts Music International GmbH
Hohenzollerndamm 150
14199 Berlin
49 (0) 30.887.08-200
fax: 49 (0) 30.887.08-299

Films for the Humanities & Sciences
P.O. Box 2053
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053

First Look Home Entertainment
8000 Sunset Boulevard, East Penthouse
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Image Entertainment
9333 Oso Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Shanachie Entertainment
37 East Clinton Street
Newton, NJ 07860
fax: 973.579.7083

Universal Music& Video
2220 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Warner Home Video
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522

White Star Video
195 Highway 36
West Long Branch, NJ 07764

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