Staff Picks: At the Movies

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The Staff Picks shelf is downtown on the first floor. Here is a sampling of what the Ann Arbor District Library movie loving staff members are currently recommending:

I am Cuba “The island of Cuba has never looked as fantastically exotic as it does in "I Am Cuba," a nearly 2 1/2-hour swatch of cinematic agitprop that aspires to be the "Potemkin" of the Cuban Communist Revolution. Completed in 1964, during the headiest days of the romance between the Soviet Union and Cuba, this Russian-Cuban co-production is a feverish pas de deux of Eastern European soulfulness and Latin sensuality fused into an unwieldy but visually stunning burst of propaganda. Supervised by the great Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov, who is best known for "The Cranes Are Flying," it suggests Eisenstein filtered through "La Dolce Vita" with an Afro-Cuban pulse.”—New York Times

Bad Day at Black Rock “American isolationism has rarely been so caustically handled as it is in John Sturges's muscular and magnificent Bad Day at Black Rock, an 81-minute sucker-punch of a movie that has not aged a day since its release over a half-century ago. The film was the first to confront Japanese internment and subsequent xenophobia following Pearl Harbor, and it doesn't gloss over the psychological toll of the era's ubiquitous distrust. In the town of Black Rock, not a soul wanders without the weight of post-war guilt slung over their shoulders.” —

Ride Around World “A film to discover the amazing 1200-year global history of the cowboy. Rope wild bulls on one of the most famous American ranches. Swim with horses through the watery Argentine backcountry. Stage an attack on the casbah with Moroccan mounted warriors. Gallop over mountaintops in spectacular British Columbia. Journey on horseback through these exotic landscapes and many more as you RIDE AROUND THE WORLD!” —

Panic in the Streets “A classy thriller, much less laden with significance than most Kazan movies. Film noir and the Method go remarkably well together as the panic-stricken manhunt gets under way when a victim of a gangland killing is found to be riddled with pneumonic plague.” —London Time Out Film Guide

Le Deuxième Souffle “Taken as a series of bravura showcases for the director's unparalleled modulation of tone, rhythm, texture and mood, however, Le Deuxième Souffle smolders, its portentous fatalism generated from hyper-composed camerawork and an experimental jazz score that help couch the proceedings in a nowhere-world situated between dream and reality.” —

Lady With the Dog “Filmed in 1960 to commemorate the centenary of Anton Chekhov's birth, "The Lady With the Dog" does him full honor. This Soviet-made drama does not deviate from the Chekhov canon. Cleaving to his classic style, it should prove a delight to his admirers since it speaks quietly but with eloquence and compassion of the frustrations of Czarist Russia's uneasy middle class.” —New York Times


wow i would have never known what this movie was about