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Current Films and Videos, Volume 51, No. 3 (Fall 2007)
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Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)

Along with recent releases, this issue includes a number of films reviewed in recent issues of the journal that were not previously noted in "Current Films and Videos.”

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

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


Le blues de l’Orient/Between Two Notes. 2006. Directed by Florence Strauss (France/Canada). Distributed by the National Film Board of Canada. DVD, 86 min. Filmmaker Florence Strauss sets out from Paris in search of the roots of classical Arab music, while uncovering a partially unknown and hidden aspect of her own heritage. In English or French.


Living the Hiplife. 2007. Directed by Jesse W. Shipley (Ghana/USA). Distributed by Third World Newsreel. DVD, 61 min. A musical portrait of street life in urban West Africa. Focuses on hiplife music in Accra, Ghana, a mix of various African musical forms and American hip-hop.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. 2007. Directed by Zach Niles and Banker White (Sierra Leone/USA). Distributed by Docurama. DVD, 80 min. Follows bandmates Reuben Koroma, Francis "Franco” Langba, Efuah Grace, Mohammed Bangura, Arahim Kamara, and Alhadji "Black Nature” Kamara through their tour of local refugee camps, debut recording session, and painful return to their country for the first time since the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone.


Air Guitar Nation. 2007. Directed by Alexandra Lipsitz (USA). Distributed by Docurama. DVD, 81 min. Chronicles the birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships, as legions of aspiring rock stars live out their dreams.

Atlantic Records: The House that Ahmet Built. 2007. Written and directed by Susan Steinberg (USA). Distributed by Rhino Entertainment. DVD, 115 min. Follows Ahmet Ertegun’s remarkable career and its impact on the world of popular music, while offering an insider’s look at the recording industry from its beginnings to the present.

Cajón Espiritual: The Music Box of Cuba. 2004. Recorded by Luke Wassermann, Todd Brown, and John Randall (Cuba/USA). Distributed by EarthCDs. DVD, 51 min. Features Omí Iná and Obbara, two talented homegrown rumba groups from Havana. With notes by Lisa Maya Knauer. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/1:175-179.) [Cajon Espiritual Omi Ina]

Jamesie: King of Scratch. 2006. Produced and directed by Andrea E. Leland (USA). Distributed by New Day Films, Inc. DVD, 70 min. An audiovisual ethnography that contextualizes scratch band music, also called fungi or quelbe, the popular social commentary song form of the Virgin Islands. In English with English subtitles. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/3:534-536.)

Joyful Noise. 2007. Written and produced by Margot Fassler (USA). Distributed by the Society of Biblical Literature. DVD, 60 min. Presents Western Christian traditions of psalm singing in the northeastern part of the United States today.

The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico. 2005. Written and directed by Michael Mabbott (Canada). Distributed by THINKFilm. DVD, 89 min. A faux documentary about the rise and fall of fictional country singer Guy Terrifico, featuring some legendary real-life performers.

Obiní Batá Cuba: Conjunto feminino de percusión, canto y danza. 2005. Recorded by Luke Wassermann, Todd Brown, and John Randall (Cuba/USA). Distributed by EarthCDs. DVD, 64 min. Focuses on a group of women percussionists known as Obiní Batá who specialize in playing batá drums. With notes by Enrique Zayas. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/1:175-179.) [Obini Bata Cuba: Conjunto feminino de percusion bata]

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965. 2007. Produced and directed by Murray Lerner (USA). Distributed by Sony BMG Music Entertainment. DVD, 83 min. Includes nearly twenty songs, covering three consecutive years of Dylan appearances at the famed Rhode Island festival.

Papá Liborio: El santo vivo de Maguana. 2003. Directed by Martha Ellen Davis (Dominican Republic/USA). Distributed by Ethnica Publications. VHS, 57 min. Explores contemporary popular religion and social protest in the Maguana region of the Dominican Republic, specifically "Liborism,” a tradition of folk Catholicism based on the popular messianic figure Olivorio Mateo "Liborio.” In Spanish with no subtitles. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 50/1:172-174.) [Papa Liborio: El santo vivo de Maguana]

The Rhythm of My Soul: Kentucky Roots Music. 2007. Produced and directed by Roger Sherman (USA). Distributed by PBS Home Video. DVD, 60 min. Tells the story of country, gospel, mountain, and bluegrass, with rare and historic film clips of Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn, and Ricky Skaggs.

Si sos Brujo: A Story of Tango. 2005. Directed by Caroline Neal (Argentina). Distributed by Facets Multi-Media, Inc. DVD, 79 min. Captures the story of a group of young Argentine musicians racing to learn and preserve the elegant and nuanced music played by the legendary tango orchestras of Buenos Aires in the 1940s and ‘50s. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho. 2006. Directed by Mika Kaurismäki (Brazil/Finland/Switzerland). Distributed by Milan Records. DVD, 90 min. Traces choro from 19th-century Rio de Janeiro through its popularity in the 1920s to its comeback over the past few decades. In Portuguese with English subtitles.[Mika Kaurismaki]

El Suroeste Dominicano: Encrucijada de Quisqueya y ombligo del mundo/The Dominican Southwest: Crossroads of Quisqueya and Center of the World. 2004. Directed by Martha Ellen Davis (Dominican Republic/USA). Distributed by Ethnica Publications. VHS, 57 min. View of the people and music of the southwestern Dominican Republic, an area noted for its spiritual and political potency among pre-colonized indigenous people as well as contemporary Dominicans. In Spanish or English with no subtitles. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 50/1:172-174.)

This Joint Is Jumpin’! 2007. Written and directed by Mark Hall (USA). Distributed by MPI Home Video. DVD, 94 min. Traces the history of swing from its first emergence in the 1920s to its current revival across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Towncraft: Notes from a Local Scene. 2007. Directed by Richard Matson (USA). Distributed by Matson Films. DVD, 104 min. Focuses on the fifth anniversary of independent label Max Recordings, the twelve main bands on the label, and the history of Little Rock as an influential indie-rock city for the past fifteen years.

Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time. 2004. Directed by Lorenzo DeStefano (USA). Distributed by Shout! Factory. DVD, 79 min. A portrait of Los Zafiros, often referred to as the Beatles of 1960s Cuba. In Spanish and English with English subtitles.

Asia and Oceania

Drumming Out a Message: Eisa and Okinawan Diaspora in Japan. 2005. Directed by Yoshitaka Terada (Japan). Available as a free rental from the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan. DVD and VHS, 76 min. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2000 and 2002, this video documents the 26th annual Eisa Festival held on September 10, 2000, and the activities of the Banyan Association (Gajimaru-no-Kai), a community support group developed and based in the Taisho Ward, where about one-third of the residents are Okinawans or their direct descendents. In Japanese with English subtitles. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/1:173-175.)

A Kabul Music Diary. 2004. Directed by John Baily (Afghanistan/UK). Distributed by the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, UK. DVD (PAL) and VHS (NTSC and PAL), 52 min. Chronicles ethnomusicologist John Baily’s first visit back to Afghanistan, in the fall of 2002, as the city and country began to shake off twenty-four years of turbulence and begin to reconstruct. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 49/2:341-342.)

Marcel Khalifé: Voyageur. 2004. Directed by Pierre Dupouey (Lebanon/France). Distributed by Nagam Records. DVD and VHS, 200 min. Timely and comprehensive portrait of one of Lebanon’s most celebrated musical figures. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 50/3:533-535.) [Marcel Khalife]

The Sidi Malunga Project: Rejuvenating the African Musical Bow in India. 2004. Produced by Nazir and Amy Jairazbhoy (India/USA). Distributed by Apsara Media for Intercultural Education. DVD, 42 min. Documents the events of a malunga camp—a weeklong camp organized by the directors in Gujarat to introduce a young generation of potential players to the instrument—and the results of the project a year later. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/3:537-539.)

Sketches of Kerala. 2004. Created by Laurent Aubert, Ravi Gopalan Nair, Damian Plandolit, Patricia Plattner, and Jonathan Watts (India/Switzerland). Distributed by the Musee d’ethnographie, Geneva, Switzerland. DVD, 93 min. Includes two substantial ethnographic films of different lengths, Gods Never Die (52 min.) and The Time of the Puppets (28 min.) a short film called The Three Wise Monkeys (13 min.) that includes interviews with the three primary filmmakers (Aubert, Watts, and Nair), and a bilingual (French/English) booklet with information on each of the three films. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/3:539-541.)

The Voice of Iran: Mohammad Reza Shajarian. 2003. Directed by Christian Braad Thomsen (Denmark). Distributed by Kollektiv Film ApS. DVD, 97 min. Documents a live performance of Iranian traditional music as well as an interview with Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Iran’s foremost art vocalist. In Persian with English subtitles. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 51/2:363-365.)


Glastonbury. 2007. Directed by Julien Temple (UK/USA). Distributed by the THINKFilm. DVD, 138 min. Focuses on the spirit, characters, and sensory experiences of the Glastonbury Festival over the last three decades. Featuring performances by David Bowie, Coldplay, Radiohead, Oasis, Chemical Brothers, Velvet Underground, and Primal Scream.

Sevdah: The Bridge that Survived. 2004. Directed by Mira Erdevicki (Bosnia/UK). Distributed by Arcimboldo Productions Ltd. VHS, 60 min. Documentary primarily about the music and musicians of the band Mostar Sevdah Reunion (MSR), but also about the 1990s war in Bosnia and its effects on people and culture. (Reviewed in Ethnomusicology 50/1:176-178.)

Distributor Information

Apsara Media for Intercultural Education
13659 Victory Boulevard #577
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Arcimboldo Productions Ltd.

902 Broadway FL 9
New York, NY 10010
fax: 212.206.9001

P.O. Box 56
Makanda, IL 62958

Ethnica Publications

Facets Multi-Media, Inc.
1517 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
fax: 773.929.5437

Kollektiv Film ApS.
Lavendelstraede 9
DK 1462 Copenhagen

Matson Films
133 West 25th Street, Suite 6W
New York, NY 10001
fax: 212.255.6342

Milan Records

MPI Home Video
16101 South 108th Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60467

Musee d’ethnographie
65 boulevard Carl-Vogt
1205 Geneve

Nagam Records
P.O. Box 842082
Houston, TX 77284

National Film Board of Canada
1123 Broadway, Suite 307
New York, NY 10010
fax: 866.299.9928

National Museum of Ethnology Multimedia Section
Information System Department 10-1
Senri Expo Park Suita
Osaka 565-8511

New Day Films, Inc.
P.O. Box 1084, 190 Route 17M
Harriman, NY 10926
fax: 845.774.2945

PBS Home Video

Rhino Entertainment

The Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
London W1T 5BT
fax: 44.20.7388.8817

Shout! Factory
2042A Armacost Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Society of Biblical Literature
The Luce Center
825 Houston Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
fax: 404.727.3101

Sony BMG Music Entertainment

72 Madison Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10016
fax: 212.444.7901

Third World Newsreel
545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018
fax: 212.594.6417

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