Savor Them: Films with a Culinary Focus

As we enter early August and back-to-school thoughts arise, what better way to hang on to summertime than to enjoy the rainbow of foods—tomatoes, melons, berries, peaches—just now reaching peak ripeness. Our guest student blogger has some film suggestions to pair with your late-summer food picks!

Five Films for the Epicurious

  1. Big Night (1996)

Set in 1950’s New Jersey at a struggling Italian restaurant, this mouth-watering movie kicks off the list. The owners Primo and Secondo, two immigrant brothers, make amazing food, but their authentic Italian cuisine is too foreign for many of the locals and they find themselves losing business to rival restaurant Pascal’s. However, when they hear that famous Italian-American singer Louis Prima is going to be at the restaurant, they decide to go all in on one last big night to save their restaurant. Big Night is funny, touching, and full of incredible-looking food, including the pièce de résistance dish Timpani, a very complicated pasta bake on the bucket list of foodies and film buffs alike.

Big Night. IMDb. 08 August 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115678/mediaviewer/rm236492800
  1. Delicatessen (1991)

Up next is the feature-length debut of French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet entitled Delicatessen. Set in the post-apocalyptic future when food is very limited, it centers on Clapet, a butcher and landlord who lures unsuspecting laborers into his shop to be killed for meat. However, when he hires ex-clown Louison who becomes romantically involved with his daughter, it all threatens to fall apart. Surreal, grim, and uncomfortable almost all of the way through, this film pushes the limits of the “food movie.”

Delicatessen. IMDb. 08 August 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101700/mediaviewer/rm3065163776
  1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi  (2011)

This documentary took Netflix by storm when it was added to the service in 2012. Originally released in 2011, it follows renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a small sushi restaurant in a Tokyo subway station which is the only sushi restaurant in the world with three Michelin stars. Even at 85, Jiro still runs the shop and is still trying to make the perfect sushi day after day alongside his 50-year-old son Yoshikazu, who will one day have to take over the restaurant. Filled with delicious seafood, this movie also manages to ask many big philosophical questions about life, work, purpose and perfection.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi. IMDb. 08 August 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772925/mediaviewer/rm3572740352
  1. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Surreal, dark, and at times disturbing, French-English film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is a movie about a crime boss who takes over a restaurant with dramatic consequences. Written and directed by Peter Greenaway (A Zed and Two Noughts, The Draughtsman’s Contract), it’s full of twists and turns within the restaurant, all alongside the mouthwatering meals by the eponymous Chef.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. IMDb. 08 August 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097108/mediaviewer/rm3756497408
  1. Ratatouille

Widely considered to be the greatest film to come out of Pixar studios, Ratatouille is beloved by children and adults alike. It follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of one day becoming a great Parisian chef, but must make an alliance with the human trash boy Linguini in order to do so. Visually stunning, gripping, and featuring one of the best food tasting scenes in cinema history, Ratatouille is a modern classic.

Ratatouille. IMDb. 08 August 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382932/mediaviewer/rm3373558016

What’s your favorite food movie (or scene)—bizarre, hilarious, or touching? Chances are, if you think it over, you’ll recall at least a handful!

Our guest blogger this week is Joey Bassett, a member of Media Services’ student desk staff since May, 2019.

Banned but Not Forgotten: Three Previously Banned Movies to Pique Your Interest This Summer

The Case of the Banned Film. Sexton Blake Library. Little Stour Books. 8 July 2019, http://www.littlestourbooks.com/catalogue.php?pageNum_Recordset1=1&totalRows_Recordset1=384&category=SEXTON+BLAKE+LIBRARY%0D

Film as a medium has always been subject to much scrutiny by cultural authorities around the world. Different beliefs and taboos in different countries have led influential films to the blacklist as a result of somewhat *ahem* questionable content. Over the years, however, standards change and once-discarded movies can quickly become acceptable. Despite this evolution, it can be quite hard to shake the word “banned” from a movie’s legacy once the damage has been done. For many, though, banned films are an intriguing look at what our culture deems acceptable – and unacceptable – in popular media. If that sounds interesting to you, head on down to Media Services; we happen to house a number of previously banned movies in our Teaching & Research collection. Let’s take a look at three of the most controversial titles ever to hit the silver screen, all of which can be found in our department.

  1. Pink Flamingos (1972)

Director John Waters has never been known as a friend of good taste. Along with frequent collaborator Divine and her crew of assorted misfits, Waters has consistently pushed the envelope of what a feature film could and couldn’t show onscreen. Nowhere is this more evident than in his most iconic film Pink Flamingos. In it, Divine stars as the “filthiest person alive,” a title she proclaims with pride. An ensuing competition to usurp Divine’s status leads into one of the most famously tasteless films ever made. There is a strong focus on sexuality, crime, and fetish in the film, among countless other taboos. The unabashed depiction of such themes led to a ban in Switzerland and Austria, as well as parts of Canada and Norway. This didn’t stop the film from becoming a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit, however. In a recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Waters spoke about his acceptance into the mainstream and his recently published autobiography, Mr. Know-It-All: Tarnished Wisdom of A Filth Elder. Says Waters, “There’s plenty of rules that you can still break….I think you have to use humor and you can’t be so angry about it.” Today, Flamingos is considered a benchmark in queer cinema and punk aesthetics despite its one-time ban. Check it out at Media Services and experience the filth for yourself, if you dare!

The cast of Pink Flamingos. Digital image. IMDB. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069089/mediaviewer/rm4151322624

2. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Wow – what a title! Filmed and marketed as a chilling and depraved documentary recorded by a lost crew, Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s film Cannibal Holocaust is considered a pioneer of the found-footage genre. It has also been considered one of the most controversial films ever released.

Italian film poster for Cannibal Holocaust. Digital image. Wikipedia. 15 December 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannibal_Holocaust#/media/File:Cannibal_Holocaust_movie.jpg

The story, loose as it is, follows a supposed anthropologist and his team into the Amazon rainforest as they attempt to make contact with an indigenous tribe known for dabbling in cannibalism. They witness (and partake in) horrific violence directed at both people and animals. Eventually, the camera crew is attacked by members of the tribe and their footage is all that remains of them in the end. Upon release in Italy, the film’s director was charged with obscenity and eventually murder, as rumors claimed the onscreen deaths were in fact real. Though all charges were dropped, the uproar surrounding the film remained. Bans were imposed in the United States, Australia, Norway, Iceland, and several other countries. Viewers and critics remain divided on the film to this day;  yet it has been undeniably influential on movies such as The Blair Witch Project. If you’ve got a strong stomach, check it out and give it a try.


3. Battleship Potemkin  (1925)

Originally created as a propaganda film for the former Soviet Union, Battleship Potemkin was a cinematic feat the likes of which had never been seen when it was originally released. Pioneering several now-ubiquitous film techniques including montage, the film was a revelation in terms of shot composition, plot, scale, and content. Chronicling the mutiny of the eponymous battleship in 1905, the film depicts the widespread chaos that spread through Odessa as a result of a clash between the oppressive government and the average citizens. In the most iconic sequence of the film, a battalion of unfeeling soldiers march down the Odessa Steps toward a crowd of unarmed citizens and send down a hail of bullets upon them. The violence of the Odessa Steps, though tame by today’s standard, alienated audiences around the world in 1925. This, coupled with the film’s overtly political messaging, led to a series of bans including one in the United States. Retrospective reviews, however, have lauded the film as one of the greatest ever made, and a progenitor of countless tropes and techniques. You can experience the classic today – it’s available in Media Services.

Still of the iconic “Odessa Steps” scene. Digital Image. Critical Commons. http://www.criticalcommons.org/Members/brettservice/clips/battleship-potemkin_compress.mp4/view

Banned films are often those at the forefront of change in media and culture at large (this is one of many entertaining banned-film lists in circulation). Though the content depicted within these films and others may be jarring, they all have a lot to offer in terms of new ideas and perspectives. Whether you’re a fan of comedy, horror, or a nice classic, Media Services can help you find a banned film you’ll love. Do you have a favorite movie that’s faced bans or censorship? – TC

Tanner Chaille is a junior studying Media and Human-Centered Computing. You can find him playing retro video games and listening to podcasts.

Keeping Up With the Classics: 3 Games You Need to Play at Media Services

This month, at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), companies like Nintendo and Sony debuted some of their highly anticipated gaming sequels and most innovative soon-to-release projects. Some of these titles elicited disappointment. However, many of the sequels—games that are successors to already existing titles like the Pokémon series and Gears of War— were met with excitement and acclaim. Games from such famous franchises have a history of leaving an impression on their players, but before you think about spending money on new games coming out this year, let’s look at Media Services’ collection of classic games, the predecessors to some of E3’s best highlights.

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild cover art. Digital Image. Express. 16 April 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/gaming

This year Nintendo announced the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2017 game, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although it was only released two years ago, most would argue it has cemented itself as a video game classic already!

This open world adventure takes you to the magical land of Hyrule where you, Link (again), have woken up from your century-long slumber and must now save Princess Zelda (again) from Calamity Ganon’s evil influence. You start humble, with nothing but a pair of trousers and a tree branch, but in no time you’re already knocking out hidden shrines one-by-one and slaying mighty Lynels with a few well-timed strikes with your longsword. Stunning visuals and graphics aside, you can tell this game was developed intensively and thoroughly by creators who thought of everything.

Link vs. Ogre. Digital Image. Technobuffalo. 12 May 2017, https://www.technobuffalo.com/zelda-morse-code

From the realistic physics you learn through play, to the minute details you can discover, Breath of the Wild creates a highly engaging environment that you’ll want to keep exploring. Luckily, Breath of the Wild is available for checkout at Media Services for the Nintendo Switch. Rent one of our media rooms and immerse yourself in Hyrule to your heart’s content!


  1. Final Fantasy VII

Twenty-two years ago, the gaming company Square released what most call the best game of its franchise: Final Fantasy VII. Now, a remastered version of what critics called “quite possibly the greatest game ever made” (GameFan, 1997), has been announced for release next March. The game takes place in Gaia, a world whose magical life energy is being exploited and processed by the powerful and malevolent Shinra Corporation.

FFVII Remake. Digital Image. Square Enix. https://ffvii-remake.square-enix-games.com/en-us, accessed 27 June 2019.

You, Cloud Strife, an ex-Shinra soldier turned mercenary, must band with your team of misfit heroes and destroy the Shinra Corporation’s plots to drain the world of its life and turn Gaia into a dystopian, dying planet. This game is a superb demonstration of the late-90s JRPG gaming style and absorbs the player in an industrial sci-fi narrative about the environment. What’s not to love?

Media Services also has Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Need a PSP to play it? No problem! We have those, too. And make sure to take a look at our other Final Fantasy games, like Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy Anthology, and Final Fantasy Tactics!

FFVII Cloud Battle. Digital Image. Just Push Start. https://www.justpushstart.com/2011/11/square-confirms-low-likelihood-of-final-fantasy-vii-remake/, accessed 27 June 2019.

  1. Star Wars: Battlefront

What do you get when you mix a legendary international franchise with addictive gaming mechanics? Star Wars games! At E3 this year, ReSpawn announced a brand new game that takes place in the galaxy far, far away; Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Unfortunately, it was announced that the game isn’t to be released until November of this year, so in the meantime, why not experience the classics? Developed by LucasArts in 2004, Star Wars: Battlefront is an action-adventure that places you right in the middle of laser guns, giant war machines… and Ewoks. You play as not one character, but an array of soldiers that are fighting on either side of the rebellion for victory.

Battlefront Cover Art. Digital Image. Steam. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1058020/STAR_WARS_Battlefront_Classic_2004/, accessed 27 June 2019.

The game strips itself of all seriousness by letting you play as either side whenever you want, emphasizing the gameplay rather than a moral compass you feel obligated to follow. It’s literally anyone’s game! But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself. Star Wars: Battlefront is available at Media Services for Xbox, along with Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS2), Lego Star Wars (Xbox and Wii) and even the Knights of the Old Republic series (Xbox)!

Battlefront Gameplay. Digital Image. Word Press. 10 May 2011. https://robertkmaxwell.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/review-of-star-wars-battlefront-for-pc/

Whether these games give you nostalgic butterflies or introduce you to a world you’ve never experienced, these games are sure to keep you preoccupied while you wait for the next generation of games to take over. All of these games are available to play at Media Services; all you need to bring is your campus ID and some refined hand-eye coordination and we’ll take care of the rest. Which one would you want to play first? – BC

Brandon Carr is a junior majoring in psychology, with minors in Japanese and counseling. Brandon enjoys walking around campus and getting chai lattes with friends.

5 LGBT Films to Watch This Pride Month

June is LGBT Pride Month. In 2000, Pride Month was officially designated by President Bill Clinton as an annual observance, and every year many events occur across the US and globally to highlight the diversity and history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Pride Month 2018. Awareness Days. 21 June 2019, https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/pride-month-2018/

The last few years have seen an explosion in blockbuster films featuring LGBT characters and relationships. From dramas like Moonlight and The Favorite, to coming-of-age stories in Love, Simon and Booksmart, and celebrity biopics Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, the complexities of LGBT life are making their way to the silver screen like never before.

Historically, LGBT characters in mainstream cinema were closeted, villainized, and mocked (perspectives on this history up through the mid-1990s appear in the documentary The Celluloid Closet). The gay or transgender character is the source of horror or laughter in everything from Silence of the Lambs to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. When LGBT characters are the protagonists in their own stories, these narratives often end with death, betrayal, and heartbreak. The message that this sends is that LGBT people cannot lead happy, complex, or dignified lives.

The recent wave of more positive and nuanced representation does not mean an end to all negative cinematic depictions of the LGBT community; the shift in American and global attitudes toward sexuality and gender is ongoing and incomplete. However, Pride month is an opportunity to recognize the resilience of LGBT communities and filmmakers who have worked from the margins to shift the mainstream dialogue.

With these Pride month recommendations, I wanted to share five limited-release films made by and about LGBT people. Whether you’re in the mood for history, spoken word, drama, or feel-good romance, Wells Media Services has got you covered.

Before Stonewall (1984)

Before Stonewall. IMDb. 21 June 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088782/mediaviewer/rm3015678976

Ever wondered why Pride month is in June? The simple answer is that the Stonewall Riots started on June 28, 1969, in New York City. The facts of the Stonewall Riots are complicated and much debated, but they are understood as a key historical flashpoint for the LGBT rights movement in the United States. Before Stonewall tells the story of the Riots, but also illuminates LGBT American history since the 1920’s.

Where to find it: Streaming via IUCAT, both on and off campus.

Tongues Untied (1989)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Marlon Riggs’ experimental documentary Tongues Untied. Riggs combines dance, spoken word, and documentary to express the pain and beauty of being a black gay man in America. Tongues Untied made history due to its form and political content. Despite controversy over the film in the public sphere, this documentary, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and originally aired on PBS, would become an award-winning work.

Tongues Untied. IMDb. 21 June 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103099/mediaviewer/rm1318820096

Where to find it: Media Services Teaching and Research section (click link for call number), or streaming via IUCAT.

 

The Way He Looks (2015)

The Way He Looks. IMDb. 21 June 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1702014/mediaviewer/rm3719152896

Written and directed by Daniel Ribeiro, this Portuguese film portrays a tender love story between high school students Leo and Gabriel. Leo navigates his blindness, burgeoning sexuality, and the trials of being a teenager with the support of his best friend Giovana. The film represents sexuality as well as disability with nuance and heart.

Where to find it: Media Services Browsing section.

 

 

Screaming Queens: the Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (2005)

For another look into LGBT American history, check out Screaming Queens, a documentary produced by Gender Studies scholar Susan Stryker. Although Stonewall is commonly referred to as the first gay or transgender riot, Stryker shares the story of a 1966 riot in San Francisco. Like Before Stonewall, Screaming Queens provides a broader historical perspective on the criminalization of homosexuality and cross-dressing, police harassment of LGBT people, and resistance by the LGBT community.

Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria. IMDb. 21 June 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464189/mediaviewer/rm3966947840

Where to find it: Media Services Browsing Documentary section, or streaming via IUCAT on and off campus 

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine. IMDb. 21 June 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3824458/vi581480473?ref_=tt_ov_vi

If you’re searching for a Sundance-premiering, independent-award-winning film to impress your friends with, look no further than Tangerine, a comedic drama about transgender sex worker Sin-Dee and her best friend Alexandra. Tangerine takes us on a wild, harrowing, sometimes hilarious ride through the culture and life of Los Angeles, as the two heroines hunt down Sin-Dee’s cheating boyfriend. The film is aesthetically impressive, especially considering it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5. Yes, that’s right, an iPhone 5!

Tangerine. The Movie Jerk. 21 June 2019, http://www.themoviejerk.co.uk/film-reviews/tangerine-2015/

Where to find it: Media Services Teaching & Research section (click link for call number).

Josie Wenig is a PhD student in Religious Studies, studying early Christianity, philosophy, and transgender theory.

Road Trip Movies!

National Road Trip Day – May 24

The Friday before Memorial Day kicks off the official start of summer with National Road Trip Day. The long weekend provides the perfect amount of time for a quick getaway with family, friends or an adventure all by yourself! Staying put for the summer? Live a road trip vicariously with these classic films of the genre.

#1 – Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma and Louise. IMDb.com. 23 May 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103074/mediaviewer/rm1109360640

This 1991 hit stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon on the trip of a lifetime as they journey to Mexico in order to avoid the consequences of their actions (no spoilers here!). This film celebrates strong and self-sufficient women and the lifelong bonds of friendship. With a killer soundtrack and an ending that will make you sit and think, this film should be included on anyone’s summer watch list.

For fans of: A League of Their Own

#2 – College Road Trip (2008)

College Road Trip. IMDb.com. 23 May 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0997047/mediaviewer/rm3194654720

This goofy comedy stars Martin Lawrence and Raven Symone as a father-daughter duo who embark on a road trip from Chicago to Washington, DC, for a college entrance interview. Audiences will connect with both Melanie (Symone) and James (Lawrence) as they deal with the anxieties and triumphs of starting a new life chapter.

For fans of: We’re The Millers, Are We There Yet

#3 – Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider. IMDb.com. 23 May 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064276/mediaviewer/rm2015125504

This classic film starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper follows two Harley-riding drug dealers as they journey to New Orleans. The influence of the counterculture movement of the late 1960s is evident throughout the movie, so if films with historical significance interest you then this is right up your alley! Join Hopper, Fonda, and Jack Nicholson as they experience adversity, understanding, and a really bad trip.

For fans of: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

 #4 – The Hitchhiker (1953)

The Hitch-Hiker. IMDb.com. 23 May 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045877/mediaviewer/rm1582771200

This film noir might make you never want to road trip again! Inspired by the real life murder spree of Billy Cook, the story follows two friends during a fishing trip to Mexico. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, their encounter with a hitchhiker becomes a terrifying fight for survival. The Hitchhiker is also regarded as the first American mainstream film noir directed by a woman as well (Ida Lupino)!

For fans of: Deliverance

All of these movies and many more are available in Media Services. Come check it out today!

Casey Callas is a senior at IU studying Psychology/History. When she’s not working you can catch her hammocking around campus.

 

A Masterful Collection

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Among the many online streaming resources IU offers is Films On Demand’s Master Academic Collection, which houses over 17,000 titles in disciplines such as Anthropology, Communications, Criminal Justice & Law, History, Music and Dance, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and more.

Its home page, which can be accessed through the Media Services Online Streaming Databases webpage, has a familiar and easy-to-navigate array of films and videos arranged based on topic, producer, popularity, etc., much like Netflix. While educational, most of the videos seem far from purely academic or dry. Here, one can watch the entire Planet Earth II series, learn key leadership skills, and discover how soup cans and pop art changed the world.

Films On Demand home page. 18 March 2019, https://fod.infobase.com/nd_Home.aspx

Something unique to this resource is its variety of formats: it lists individual videos as well as video series, and it collects a variety of formats (from news segments and TED talks to full-blown documentary series). In the upper left hand corner, users will find a drop down menu that lists subjects, popular categories (such as Best of Ken Burns, Biographies, Exclusive to FOD, and Great Artists), and Featured Producers (including the American Museum of Natural History, Frontline, and PBS).

Featured this month are videos related to women and gender equality, in honor of International Women’s Day. Showcasing this resource’s attention to variety, the videos are quite varied–from a six-minute documentary about London’s domestic slaves to a series called “The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story.”

Films On Demand home page. 18 March 2019, https://fod.infobase.com/nd_Home.aspx

The internal search engine is also very easy to use. One can search based on format, subject, type, copyright dates, language, and producer. It is quickly apparent when searching for a specific topic that this site can isolate segments from longer videos that address what is being searched for, which is a unique feature that could be very useful for writing research papers or targeting interest areas without having to comb through an entire series.


Portrait of Allen Ginsburg and Bob Dylan by Elsa Dorfman. Wikipedia. 18 March 2019, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Allen_Ginsberg_and_Bob_Dylan_by_Elsa_Dorfman.jpg

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, I typed “poetry” into the search box, and an astonishing 4,315 results were found. The first result was a series called “Poetry Heaven” that includes segments titled “Why We Write” and “The Lure of Poetry.” In addition to exploring questions of why we write, the videos feature contemporary poets–as well as Allen Ginsberg who has since passed away–reading and discussing their work. Poetry is as much an oral art as it is written, so videos like this are key to our full experience of the poem (if we are not lucky enough to hear Joy Harjo or Robert Hass read in person).


Scrolling down, there are short segments on how to appreciate poetry, an educational series that teaches literary terms such as rhyme and meter, and even an clip of Amiri Baraka in conversation with Maya Angelou about how Marxism influences his search for concrete reality in his poetry.

There are 105 search results for Maya Angelou herself, among them a recent feature-length film about her life and words, several hour-long interviews with Bill Moyers, and a video of Dr. Angelou reading at President Clinton’s second inauguration.

Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Courtesy, William J. Clinton Presidential Library. 18 March 2019, https://www.clintonlibrary.gov/museum/permanentexhibits/inauguration/

All in all, Films on Demand’s Master Academic Collection is a stunning collection of videos and films on every subject imaginable. Whether you’re looking for a way to unwind from a long day, amp up your research, or just curious about the connections between Handel and hip-hop, this streaming resource has something for you. AL

Media Services staff member Anni Liu is a graduate student in Creative Writing at IU, published poet, and essayist.

It’s SWANK, and It’s Swell!

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Swank is an online platform where IU students, staff, and faculty can watch feature films. Online streaming services are a modern convenience, but the St. Louis-based Swank company has actually been active since 1937. The founder, P. Ray Swank, got his start offering projection service “on demand” and on location. There were plenty of movie theaters back then, but, just like today, people also needed to show films outside the theater environment (think classrooms, churches, union halls). That’s where Swank’s service filled a gap. Back in the day, the Swank company would show up with a 16-mm projector, some film canisters, and a human being to roll film, change reels, and fix breakdowns. Today’s Swank service does a similar thing, minus the canisters and projector. Nowadays, the company works with universities, hospitals, and even cruise ships, providing a digital platform and taking care of the legal side of distribution and licensing for feature-film content.  

Indiana University Bloomington Access Page for Swank Streaming Service. 13 Mar 2019, https://digitalcampus.swankmp.net/indianau314393/#/digitalCampus/browse

At IU, many different departments use feature films as teaching tools. The Media School is an obvious example. But because feature films can help shed light on practically any aspect of human experience, films are used in history and arts courses, cultural studies, gender studies, and others. Classes in the hard sciences can use Swank as well, to discuss ideas like how science is depicted in Frankenstein (1931), or the implications of artificial intelligence as shown in Ex Machina (2015).

Frankenstein. Digital Image. IU Swank. 2 March 2019. https://digitalcampus.swankmp.net/indianau314393/#/play/81795

All you need to access this resource is an internet connection. Just enter your IU login credentials at this link: https://libraries.indiana.edu/resources/swank. There are over 200 films that you can watch from all sorts of genres and decades. As the collection expands, there is more to browse through. However, if you are looking for something in particular, Swank also has an advanced search tool, plus an option for searching by genre.

Advanced Search. Digital Image. IU Swank. 2 March 2019. https://digitalcampus.swankmp.net/indianau314393/#/digitalCampus/browse

IU provides the Swank service so that instructors can require feature films in their course curricula. But you can also watch films on Swank for their sheer entertainment value! There is some crossover between the titles on Swank and other services (like Netflix), but Swank has some content not found elsewhere. If you want to use film resources to enrich a class research project, be sure to check Swank!


Mexico Remixed: Swank highlights

Throughout Spring 2019, IU continues to celebrate Mexico Remixed. There are classic and contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American films available for viewing on SWANK! Check out this sampling below, browse in IUCAT, or go directly to the Swank platform itself.

American Me

American me poster. Digital Image. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Me. 15 December 2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Me#/media/File:American_me_poster.jpg

IUCAT summary: Inspired by a true story, this is the story of a vicious Latino prison gang leader, doomed by his past to a life of harsh, unforgiving violence after his release from jail. He grows up in East Los Angeles, joins a street gang and is in prison while he is still of an age to be in high school. By the time he is back on the streets again, he is a skillful, educated criminal.

 

 

 

 

Frida poster. Digital Image. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frida 8 December 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frida#/media/File:Fridaposter.jpg

 

Frida

IUCAT summary: The life of artist Frida Kahlo, from her humble upbringing to her worldwide fame and controversy that surrounded both her and her husband, Diego Rivera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread and Roses

IUCAT summary: A group of immigrant workers takes a stand against the million dollar corporations who employ them.

Bread and Roses poster. Digital Image. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_Roses_(2000_film 4 November 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_Roses_(2000_film)#/media/File:Bread_and_Roses_poster.jpg

More titles:

Like Water for Chocolate

Pan’s Labyrinth

Sin Nombre

Born in East L.A.

Fatima Coulibaly is a student and Media Services staff member at IUB with an eclectic taste in film who enjoys playing the piano. Except Jingle Bells.

Mental Health: Fact and Fiction on Film

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Mental illness has been a subject in the entertainment industry for decades and, much like the field of psychology, it has been evolving—in my opinion, for the better. However, better does not mean perfect, and in honor of Mental Wellness Month, I will talk about a couple of movies that depict mental illness with varying degrees of success, as well as offer suggestions for further information about mental illness and wellness.

In Iron Man 3, we see Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, dealing with the trauma brought on by the first Avengers movie. We see this manifest in many ways throughout the movie. One of the first scenes we see is one of his suits of armor reacting to the panic brought on by a nightmare. Iron Man 3 also has a good example of how triggers  work. Triggers can be anything from a smell, to an image, to a few words. They remind the traumatized party of the event and cause a mix of reactions such as short tempers, panic attacks, and anxiety disorder. In Iron Man 3, we see drawings done by children, small conversations, and dreams of past events all triggering these reactions in Tony throughout the movie.

Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1300854/mediaviewer/rm923548672

When looking at Tony’s friend Rhodes, his romantic partner Pepper, and a child named Harley, many of us in the audience will see a little of ourselves. Rhodes mentions that he is worried about Tony, because he has not been acting like his usual self. Pepper sees his behavior as reckless and dangerous. The child, Harley, picks at Tony’s psyche. Harley is very much there for the progression of the plot, but he is also a perfect visual of how some people react to those with a mental illness. While one party (Rhodes) tries to push for the truth, the other (Pepper) pushes Tony away for their own safety and well-being, and yet another (Harley) is just along for the ride. But no party is painted negatively for their role or responses. If you can find yourself in any of these characters, you can start to understand how your response to a person with mental-health issues might affect their mental state, either positively or negatively.


Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1300854/mediaviewer/rm3677304064
Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1300854/mediaviewer/rm3725278208

Split (Italian release). IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972582/mediaviewer/rm1854829568

Split is a psychological thriller about teenage girls who are kidnapped by a person with an identity disorder. The antagonist has 24 personalities that are slowly counting down to the most violent one. Each personality has different mannerisms, clothes, and speaking patterns. While this is extremely common in persons with the disorder, it is also extremely ­uncommon for these identities to talk back and forth to one another.

 

 


Split. IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972582/mediaviewer/rm3390401024
Split. IMDb. 22 February 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972582/mediaviewer/rm3781121024

Split and some of M. Night Shyamalan’s other movies such as The Visit are unfortunate examples of mental illnesses being played up for the sake of entertainment and drama. This can be a disservice to viewers and real-life disorder sufferers alike, since the audience may not be well educated in various types of mental illness and might take some or all of the movie’s portrayal as truth.

In addition to many fiction films on mental illness, including classics like PsychoA Beautiful Mind, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Media Services has non-fiction films on the subject, including many psychology-related streaming databases. Some resources, such as Counseling and Therapy in Video, allow patrons to research therapies for different mental disorders, or learn about the last century’s most important psychological experiments and breakthroughs. Others, such as this video on PTSD, help users understand a specific mental health problem and how it works. There are also hundreds of compelling documentaries that offer a window into social, or sometimes highly personal, experiences of mental illness and/or mental healing. TL

Tamara Lane is a recent graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Language and Culture and a minor in Studio Art. Current obsessions: Kingdom Hearts 3 and comic making.

DocuSeek2: A Cultural Kaleidoscope

 

“The Last Angel of History,” a film about Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and Afro-Futurist music. DocuSeek 2, 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-angel

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

When it comes to streaming, IU has an embarrassment of riches. The university has long recognized online streaming access as a valuable resource and, to the good fortune of the IU community, has committed to maintaining and increasing that access as new resources become available. In December, 2015, the Media Studies department announced the addition of the DocuSeek 2 streaming database to the family of resources available at IU Bloomington.

As noted on the Media Services web page, “[t]he DocuSeek 2 online streaming platform hosts over 700 films in over 20 subject areas from such renowned distributors as Bullfrog (Environment), The Collective Eye, Fanlight (Health Sciences), Icarus (award-winning feature and documentary films), Kartemquin, National Film Board of Canada, Scorpion, Terra Nova, and more.”


Viva la Causa. DocuSeek 2. 12 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/cart/product/384. For more Mexico Remixed-related films, see list at bottom of post.

The DocuSeek 2 website is well designed and user friendly, whether you are  searching for something specific or just casually browsing. The home page has a slide show featuring new releases, plus scrollable ribbons for popular films and featured subjects like sustainability, as shown below. It also has a list of its distribution partners—Icarus Films, Bullfrog Films, Media Storm, etc.—and the top subjects in which they specialize.

Popular films and top subjects list. DocuSeek 2. 12 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/

Pro tip: When using the DocuSeek 2 search box, start with general terms: after the first search, users are given the option of filtering by subject, distributor, date range, etc., so you can narrow it down later. 

DocuSeek 2 is a great place for discovering fascinating documentaries from filmmakers all over the world. Many of the titles run about an hour long, but in that short time you can be completely transported into a microcosm of life experience, often in a subject area you never knew could grip you!


Mind: Blown (aka, what do disco and the atomic bomb have in common?)

One advantage of DocuSeek 2’s ever-growing documentary film library is that you can get wildly different perspectives on a single topic. As just one example, using the search term “atomic,” I happened upon a wide variety of films pertaining to atomic energy, the history of the atomic bomb, and cultural histories of the “atomic age.” One of these films, Hiroshima Bound, explores the various narratives that linger in the American imagination about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Filmmaker and visual artist Martin Lucas examines the role of archives, photography, and oral histories in shaping a “counter-history to the official record” of events. A child of the atomic age, Lucas also seeks to understand the “trauma and myth surrounding the culture of Hiroshima representation.”

Hiroshima Bound. DocuSeek 2. 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-hb
Disco and Atomic War. DocuSeek 2. 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-disco

In contrast to the profound and personal nature of Hiroshima Bound, Disco and Atomic War takes a more whimsical approach to a serious topic, exposing the absurdity of repressive regimes’ attempts to control human curiosity and spirit, and their ultimate failure to do so. The film won Best Documentary at the 2009 Warsaw Film Festival and was featured in many other festivals.

Disco and Atomic War. Rotten Tomatoes. 14 February 2019, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disco_and_atomic_war/pictures

With great care and humor, filmmakers Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma create a highly entertaining picture of their youth in 1980s Estonia. After neighboring Finland erects a powerful television antenna, many Estonians begin to secretly access forbidden Western television programs like Dallas. Quickly hooked on the glitz and intrigue, and their colorful contrast with the drab propaganda on late-Soviet television, Estonians begin to imagine different futures for themselves, something beyond Cold War hardships and threats of nuclear apocalypse. The film provides a wild and wacky look at how transnational cultural exchange—even with dubious ambassadors like J.R. Ewing—can help ignite movements for human rights and expressive freedom.

Disco and Atomic War. Rotten Tomatoes. 13 February 2019, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disco_and_atomic_war/pictures

There are so many talented filmmakers creating thoughtful and entertaining films that it can be overwhelming: What to watch? Where to start? DocuSeek 2 gathers up some of the best and brightest from all over the globe. This unique streaming service helps you connect with people and perspectives that will stimulate, challenge, and inspire you to engage with the cultural kaleidoscope that is Planet Earth. And who knows? You might even up your disco game in the process! HS

Heather Sloan is the Media Services and Maps Assistant at Wells Library. Her research is focused on exploring interdisciplinary connections between popular culture, media, social justice, gender, and the environment. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance and is currently pursuing an MLS degree with a specialization in Digital Humanities.

In celebration of Mexico Remixed at IU Bloomington (Spring 2019), here is just a sampling of the wide array of Mexico-related documentaries available via DocuSeek 2*:

Borderline Cases. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-bc

Borderline Cases (social justice/environment): “…investigates the environmental impact of the nearly 2,000 factories – maquiladoras – that have been built in Mexico at the US-Mexico border by multinational corporations from the US, Asia and Europe.”

 

Tina In Mexico. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-tina

Tina in Mexico (arts/culture): “…follows the tumultuous and epic story of Tina Modotti, revolutionary, bohemian spirit and renowned photographer, acclaimed for her innovative and impassioned depiction of social issues.”

 

The Hand That Feeds. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-hand

The Hand That Feeds (migration studies/social justice): “…[b]ehind the scenes…of a popular bakery cafe…undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers…Mahoma Lopez…convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

 

The Monarch. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-mon

The Monarch (nature): The monarch butterfly is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious butterfly in the world. It amazes us for what we know about its life and it tantalizes us for the secrets it still holds within its delicate frame – secrets that scientists and lay people in North America have been trying to unravel for decades.

* Synopsis text courtesy DocuSeek 2 website—see individual title links above.

 

Technology in Movies: Real vs. Reel

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Technology in Movies: Real vs. Reel

In recent years, Hollywood has taken a shine to technology. Whether it’s hackers appearing in almost every heist or mystery movie now, artificial intelligence taking control of the world, or maybe robots that will eventually turn against us – we see its influence in almost every movie these days. But how realistic are these movies, anyway? Sure, it’s Hollywood – an industry that doesn’t shy away from exaggeration – but it’s still an interesting concept. In fact, some movies have even predicted the future pretty accurately.

In this post, we look at a few examples of technology seen in movies and their counterparts, if any, in real life. The post concludes with ways to explore technology, both the “reel” and the “real,” using Media Services’ online streaming platforms.

THE MATRIX (1999)

Let’s start with the big one – artificial intelligence, or AI. The best example of AI seen in movies is probably The Matrix, which is a phenomenal movie (when you finally understand it). In the movie, the world we live in is actually a computer program created by AI machines in the future.

The Matrix. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/mediaviewer/rm2119179520

It’s the year 2190, where the machines are farming humans as their primary energy source and placing human consciousness in the Matrix so that we don’t rebel. Obviously an unrealistic scenario, or maybe we are all in the Matrix and the machines want us to think that….

AI in real life – SIRI

Every single iPhone these days has Siri, our very own AI virtual assistant, and other personal devices have their equivalents. Helpful and intrusive, they can also be destructive, like when you ask it to find the best local restaurant but it texts your ex instead.

Siri. CNET, Oct 4 2018, https://www.cultofmac.com/447783/today-in-apple-history-siri-makes-its-public-debut-on-iphone-4s/

BLADE RUNNER (1982) 

The Harrison Ford movie showcases the future “2019” as a dark, dystopian world with humans crammed into cities and living with genetically engineered android robots that look exactly like humans.

Blade Runner. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/mediaviewer/rm388984064

The city is saturated with technology, with huge screens blasting advertisements and news in every corner.

REAL LIFE

Well, it’s 2019 and there’s no sign of androids that look exactly like humans (then again, Jennifer Aniston hasn’t aged at all in like 50 years), but the movie was pretty spot-on in terms of the direction in which our infrastructure is going.

Times Square, April 23 2015, https://www.aroundtheworldl.com/2015/04/23/times-square-nyc/

Digital billboards are everywhere now, replacing traditional posters and paper advertisements. Even daily news is delivered right to our smartphone. Unfortunately, Blade Runner was also accurate in predicting the overpopulation in cities today.

I, ROBOT

If the movie ends up predicting the future correctly, in 20 years we’ll have robots available to us to do whatever mundane task we order them to do.

I, Robot. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343818/mediaviewer/rm1498926080

That would be really cool, until they decide to rise against us with the destruction of the human race as their only goal. I mean, I would understand though – I would not want to be the robot in charge of cleaning the toilets in Taco Bell.

REAL LIFE

Robots are already a reality in 2019, from automated factory machines to humanoid robots that can do whatever tasks humans can do, but better. As technology continues to progress, we might actually see ourselves living the plot of I, Robot soon.

Humanoid Robot, NASA, 11 Dec 2013, https://www.rt.com/usa/nasa-valkyrie-texas-robot-076/

A sampling of Media Services streaming documentaries on the subject of human/robot interaction is available here. (The link takes you to an IUCAT results page for streaming video sources; from there, simply click on any title and then click on the Bloomington url in the item record. If not already logged in, you will be prompted for your IU login to begin viewing.)

Interested in learning more? Check out the 25 best tech movies of all time. Many of these titles are available at Media Services!

CONCLUSION

Movies haven’t been that far off in predicting the future. While the potential prospects of technology are exciting, it does lead to certain concerns as well.  Applications of AI like Siri are undoubtedly convenient but little thought is given to what we are willing to sacrifice for that convenience. It’s well known that companies aggregate user data to track everything about us, from preferences to personal information and interests. Besides companies, governments have used advancements in technology to increase surveillance power on citizens as well. It can be challenging to keep up with developments in the privacy sphere, but being informed can help protect you, and IU Libraries offer lots of resources to do just that.

Nothing To Hide. IMDb. Jan 17 2019. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7330532/mediaviewer/rm2865374208

Nothing To Hide is a great documentary that questions the growing and confusing public acceptance of corporate and governmental intrusions into individual privacy rights. Access the book on which the film is based here, via IU’s subscription to E-Book Central.

Another great documentary is Zero Days (available through our Films On Demand streaming database), which covers malicious activities like computer viruses that can be perpetrated by unscrupulous people with bad intentions.

Streaming databases and other access options at IU: Spotlight on Alexander Street Press

There are a lot of ways to access these titles and more at IU. Alexander Street Press (ASP) is an online database for use by current IU students, staff, and faculty to stream a wide variety of learning, teaching, and research titles. Users can search ASP directly or via IUCAT (IU Libraries’ main catalog search tool—see instructions below*). ASP provides access to 30 online streaming databases containing music, film, documents, and more. Subject areas include, but are not limited to:  Anthropology, Art & Architecture, Black Studies, Dance, Education, Fashion, Health, American and World History, LGBT, Music, News Archives, Nursing, Opera, Psychology, Theatre, Silent Film, Sports Medicine and much more. In other words, it’s a major (but useful!) rabbit hole, the Matrix “red pill” of online databases. Do you dare? DM

Dhruv Madappa is a Media Services student staff member pursuing a Masters in Cybersecurity at IU.

*IUCAT search instructions for online resources: Using IUCAT, you can search by title, subject area, etc., and then use the search limit menus (located on the left-hand side of the screen) to narrow your format to “streaming video.” If you prefer to see all online media options (such as digitized text, audio files, photographs, video, etc.), you can use the more general “online resource” category. Further tips, including a link to the Knowledge Base IUCAT entry, can be found here.