10 Documentaries that Shocked the World

The September 2007 issue of Sight and Sound: The International Film Magazine has a list of 10 Documentries that Shocked the World and AADL has some of them.

Heshang - The River Elegy (Jun Xia, 1988) China
Minamata: The Victims and Their World (Tsuchimoto Noriaki, 1972) Japan
Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002) US
The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988) US
Death of a Nation - The Timor Conspiracy (John Pilger and David Munro, 1994) Britain
BBC News Ethiopia Report (Michael Buerk and Mohammed Amin, 1984) Britain
McLibel (Franny Armstrong, 2005) Britain
Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1936) Germany
The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls, 1970) France
For Freedom (Hussein Torabi, 1980) Iran

Then some more that need to be plugged.

The Corporation 2005 US
21 days to Baghdad 2003 US
Before Stonewall 1995 US
After Stonewall 2005 US

The Only Band That Matters

The Band went from backing Ronnie Hawkins as The Hawks to backing Bob Dylan when he did his electric tour to being the most unsung band out there. While they achieved popularity in their time, scored hits, and certainly had the respect of all of their contemporaries, history unfortunately hasn’t yet brought Music From Big Pink and The Band to the forefront of classic rock must-haves like Let It Bleed, Who’s Next, or any The Rutles record.

Ahoy, me hearties! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19 with all things piratical here at AADL. Weigh anchor with this merry yarn; indulge in some Captain "Jack", or read a modern-day pirate's take on life at 50. Shiver me timbers! Ann Arbor even has a local connection!

One of the "Merry Pranksters"

Ken Kesey, novelist known as one of the the Merry Pranksters was born on this day, September 17, 1935 in La Junta, Colorado. When he was a student at Stanford, he took part in a VA experiment which was his introduction to a psychedelic drug called LSD. The experience changed his life and he became fascinated with the concepts of sanity and insanity. He took a job as a night attendant at a psychiatric ward which inspired his most famous book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which later became a movie starring Jack Nicholson as the infamous McMurphy.

September Books To Films


This month, two former UM professors will see their literary works captured on the silver screen.

The film version of The Feast of Love (2000), an award-winner novel by Charles Baxter is described by critics as ” a kaleidoscopic ode to life and love in all its funny, sad, sexy, crazy, heartbreaking and life sustaining facets”. The book’s original setting in Ann Arbor is regrettably changed to that of a small community in Oregon. (More on the movie).

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (1983) by Ron Hansen is the basis for a film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. The novel, a PEN/Faulkner Award nominee, delves into the private lives of America’s most notorious outlaw and his unlikely assassin to offer a new perspective on a legend and address the question of what really may have transpired in the months before that infamous shooting.

Other September releases:

The adaptation of Silk, by Alessandro Baricco (1997) will be released Sept. 21, starring Keira Knightley, Michael Pitt, and Sei Ashina.
In the mid 19th century, a silkworm merchant travels from France to Japan to locate silkworm eggs that are uncontaminated by an epidemic, and falls in love with the concubine of a Japanese baron.

On the same date, expect a rush at the theaters for the release of Into the Wild , - about a young man who leaves his middle class existence for a life of adventure in the North American wilderness. The film is based on the bestseller (1996) by Jon Krakauer.

(Standing In The Shadows Of) Motown

The Funk Brothers, Motown’s house band, had as much to do with the signature Motown Sound as anybody else at the studio. The group of jazz and blues musicians integrated their non-pop musical background into creating the arrangements and style now associated with Motown. Also, like Booker T. and the MGs—their Stax Records equivalents—they were an integrated band, a rarity in the late 50s, early 60s. Their story is outlined in the insightful, rocking, and occasionally touching documentary Standing In The Shadows of Motown.

Greyfriars Bobby on DVD

Here’s a touching tale that’s great for any age. A tale that's well known in Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog is just that. Bobby is a determined and loyal pint-sized terrier living in Scotland in the 1850s. Under the care of the town’s constable he shows his loyalty and intelligence time and time again. After the constable becomes ill Bobby remains loyal to the grave of his former master and then follows the lead of a young boy named Ewan. When Bobby gets into trouble with the city, all of Edinburgh rallies to save their beloved Bobby. Talk about a feel-good and heartwarming story!

There is also a book called The ghost of Greyfriar's Bobby that tells more of the adventures of little Bobby.

Amazon's top sellers

planet earthplanet earth

Amazon.com’s top selling DVDs list includes many titles currently available at the library. For a bit of history, a dash of fun, a pinch of science, or a dab of thought provocation why not have a peek at what people are watching: Planet Earth – The Complete BBC Series, Rome – The Complete 2nd Season, Wild Hogs, 300, and The Secret.

Queen Margot

Queen Margot is an amazing historical French film based on the novel, "Marguerite De Valois", written by Alexandre Dumas. This film is set in 1572 Paris. During that medieval period in France, majority Catholics and minority Protestants were at odds. In an arranged marriage set to ease religious tensions, Catholic Queen Margot and Protestant Henri de Bourbon wed. Things do not go exactly as planned and what follows the wedding is a massacre of Protestants that have come to see Henri de Bourbon get married. This day is known in history as the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which over six thousand Protestants were killed in the streets of Paris. After the bloody massacre carried out by the Catholics we are drawn in to a plot of allegiances, betrayals, lovers, friends, enemies, greed, and wickedness. You cannot turn away from this intense film. The acting is excellent, and the storyline full of turns. The official FFG rating for this film is 10.

Reliving 1987 (ish)

This week some of my old childhood favorites are being released and re-released on DVD. You're never too old to watch David Bowie in all of his make-up and glam-rock-splendor in Labyrinth. And if puppets are your thing, The Muppet Show Season Two has just been released in addition to Fraggle Rock Season Three. Check out the children’s DVD collection at AADL, and don’t ever apologize for checking out an item labeled “Youth.” Kermit and Gobo are funny no matter what age you are.

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