Thelma and Louise – a Timeless Roadtrip

As summertime dawns on us, many of us are left with much more free time and carefree living thanks to the end of yet another academic year. It brings on a time of self-exploration and perhaps an exploration of entertainment past and present.

Taking a look back on films from the past, we see May 24th marks the 17th anniversary since the release date of Thelma and Louise, a film about two best friends that set out on an adventure to escape the mundane which quickly turns into an actual escape from the police for the crimes that they have committed. It stars Susan Sarandon (Louise) and Geena Davis (Thelma) and has received 21 awards. Among the awards include the Academy award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. As these awards suggest, this screenplay has been artfully written and have often been used as examples for screenwriters to use in their own writing. If this is not enough to convince you of what great writing this is, the screenplay is also mentioned extensively and analyzed in what writers in the industry would call their bibles: Screenplay by Syd Field and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

Delving into the screenplay, we can take a quick look at the synopsis of the film – with no spoilers of course. At the beginning of the film we meet Louise, a headstrong and independent woman, and her best friend Thelma, a passive and naive woman that is married to a moronic hothead. They set out for a weekend getaway in a 1966 Thunderbird convertible. In tow: a gun. While on the road they decide to stop for drinks where a man takes a liking to Thelma. He attempts to sneak her away and rape her when Louise shows up brandishing the gun. The man’s body is soon discovered and it doesn’t take long before the authorities connect his death with Thelma and Louise. Thus begins a chase.

Now we’ve seen many “best buddy” type films such as 48 Hours, Wayne’s World, and Dumb and Dumber, but this film is set apart from the others because the heroes in this film are women, making it ahead of its time. The two women are strong, quick-witted, and full of compassion. As the film progresses, these women grow into characters that we, the audience, might identify with. They become role models for female empowerment, and perhaps empowerment to all genders.

If you would like to experience this film this summer, be sure to stop by Media Services and check it out. SM

Sami Masaki is a sophomore studying Cinema Production. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching movies. This summer, she will be interning with Heydey Films in Los Angeles.

Why Miyazaki’s Works are so Internationally Renowned

When Miyazaki’s name is mentioned, I am sure certain film titles come to mind. As a child growing up in a Japanese family, Miyazaki’s films were some of my favorite apart from the Lindsey Lohan remake of The Parent Trap. This may come as no shocker but what always surprised me was the number of my peers that also knew of his films. Miyazaki and his company Studio Gibli are often compared to Walt Disney. As a Japanese animation filmmaker, what makes Miyazaki’s works do so well internationally?

People around the world are moved by his various works that tackle themes and characters of great depth. They were first introduced to his films in 2003 when his film Spirited Away (2001) took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, opening the gates to all other Studio Gibli films. Although Miyazaki’s films are considered children’s movies, they explore themes such as war, man vs. nature, and identity, making them relevant to people of all ages.

Yet he does this in such an honest way. He captures the true emotions of life: joy, bewilderment, empathy. And he delivers them to us in the character’s actions that are so real.  Take, for example, Spirited Away. The protagonist, Chihiro, is a 10-year-old girl who is moving to a new town and leaving everything and everyone she knows behind. Her friends give her a bouquet and she says, “The only time I got a bouquet and it’s a goodbye present. How depressing.” Her mother tries to console her but she remains sullen and shrugs it off. These are actions that any little girl would take. Miyazaki even mentioned that he based this film off of a 10-year-old girl that he knew very well.

Although Miyazaki’s films dig into complex themes, they have many layers, making them multifaceted and the right fit for children as well. Through the younger characters portrayed in his films, he allows children to identify with the films. In this way, he is extremely respectful to the younger audience.

Miyazaki once said, “”I believe that children’s souls are the inheritors of historical memory from previous generations. It’s just that as they grow older and experience the everyday world that memory sinks lower and lower. I feel I need to make a film that reaches down to that level.”

The quiet innocence of his films are the reason I started watching his films in the first place. That is why I consider My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Ponyo as some of my favorite films of his. There is something so special about the pureness of these films which have had the ability to impact my life so strongly.

It is quite an understatement to say that Miyazaki’s films are beautiful. His stills are some of the most stunning in art, let alone in animation. Sprinkled through his films are lush landscapes that capture the beauty of the countryside.  His great attention to detail brings the fantastic elements of his stories to life and suck the viewer in. His films are the perfect blend of realistic, supernatural, and the fantastic.

The moving stories combined with his beautiful artwork are what make his films timeless masterpieces for all people of all ages. If you have not had the chance to see any of his films, I encourage you to do so. The ones that I would start with are Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle. I hope that the journey through his films captivates you as much as they did to me. All three movies are available at Media Services! SM

Sami Masaki is a sophomore studying Cinema Production. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching movies. This summer, she will be interning with Heydey Films in Los Angeles.

All photos taken from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasminnahar/the-most-beautiful-shots-in-studio-ghibli-history?utm_term=.wdg87eRZy#.knKkv5QLe

 

ALA Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults releases 2018 list

Check IUCAT for availability, or send an email to libmedia@indiana.edu for film purchase.

DENVER – The American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee has compiled its 2018 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding films released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults.  Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video.  The list is compiled for use by librarians and the general adult populace.

The Notable Videos for Adults Committee selected 15 outstanding titles from among 54 nominees for this year’s list of Notable Videos for Adults.  The availability of closed captions (CC) and/or subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is preferred; inclusion and exclusion of the same is indicated below.

2018 VRT Notable Films for Adults

Abacus, Small Enough to Jail (2017, dir. Steve James) 89 minutes. PBS. DVD. Available from various distributors. Subtitles. Tells the story of the Chinese immigrant Sung Family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York, the only U.S. bank prosecuted in relation to the 2008 financial crisis.

Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock (2017, dir. Myron Dewey, Josh Fox and James Spione) 84 minutes. International WOW Co. DVD. Available from Bullfrog Films (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/awake.html) and various distributors. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, along with 500 other tribes and allies, lead a peaceful resistance against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on their sacred ground.

David Lynch: The Art Life (2016, dir. Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Rick Barnes and John Nguyen) 88 minutes. Criterion Collection. DVD and Blu-ray. Available from various distributors. SDH. Takes viewers on a rare look inside the art studio of David Lynch as Lynch recounts the people and events that led him to his life as an artist.

Dawson City Frozen Time (2016, dir. Bill Morrison) 120 minutes. Kino Lorber. DVD and blu-ray. Available from various distributors. CC. After hundreds of silent films are uncovered in a Yukon, Canada gold rush town, its history is pieced together through the experimental reconstruction of the films themselves.

Gleason (2016, dir. Clay Tweel) 111 minutes. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC.  Football star Steve Gleason and his wife, Michel, while expecting the birth of their son, grapple with his diagnosis of ALS at the age of 34. This gut-wrenching and ultimately transcendent film delivers a powerful and unvarnished view of Gleason’s physical suffering and the psychological toll it takes on his marriage and family.

Heaven is a Traffic Jam (2017, dir. Frank Stiefel) 40 minutes. Grasshopper Film. DVD and blu-ray. Available from Grasshopper Film (http://store.grasshopperfilm.com/heaven-is-a-traffic-jam-on-the-405.html).  Honest and poignant look at the life of artist Mindy Alper and the effects of her childhood trauma, mental illness, anxiety and depression on her art.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016, dir. Raoul Peck) 93 minutes. Magnolia Pictures. DVD and blu-ray. Available from various distributors. SDH. Through an unfinished work of James Baldwin, the history of Black America is told from early 20th Century to #BlackLivesMatter.

I Called Him Morgan (2017, dir. Kasper Collin) 91 minutes. FilmRise. DVD and blu-ray. Available from various distributors. SDH. In 1972, jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was murdered at age 33 by his wife, cutting short what was already a legendary career. Using archival footage and photographs, interviews with his friends and fellow musicians, we are introduced to the tragedy of their story set against the backdrop of his amazing music.

Last Men in Aleppo (2017, dir. Feras Fayyad and Steen Johannessen) 104 minutes. Grasshopper Film. DVD. Available from Grasshopper (http://grasshopperfilm.com/film/last-men-in-aleppo/) and various distributors. Arabic with English subtitles. During the Syrian civil war, residents from the town of Aleppo risk their lives as White Helmets, search and rescue volunteers. A harrowing and heartbreaking look at daily life, death and struggle in the streets of the besieged city.

Newtown (2017, dir. Kim A. Snyder) 85 minutes. Passion River Films. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC. Through raw and heartbreaking interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors and first responders, the film documents a traumatized community working to find a sense of purpose in the aftermath of the senseless mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Pearl Button (2016, dir. Patricio Guzman) 82 minutes. Kino Lorber Films. DVD and blu-ray. Available from Kino Lorber (https://www.kinolorber.com/product/view/id/3020) and other distributors. Spanish with English subtitles. Through stunning cinematography and poetic juxtapositions, Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman explores the importance of water to Chile’s history and culture.

Political Animals (2017, dir. Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares) 87 minutes. Gravitas Ventures. DVD and blu-ray. Available from various distributors. CC.  The film follows four groundbreaking lesbians who took the fight for the causes most personal to them and their communities off the streets and into the halls of the California state legislature.

The Talk: Race in America (2017, dir. Samuel D. Pollard) 115 minutes. PBS. A powerful film about ‘the talk’ that parents must have with their children of color to teach them how to act around the police in order to remain safe. Interweaves personal narratives of police violence against innocent young victims.

Tower (2016, dir. Keith Maitland) 82 minutes. Kino Lorber. DVD and blu-ray. Available from Kino-Lorber (https://www.kinolorberedu.com/film/tower) and various distributors. CC. On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included sixteen dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to comprehend the tragedy. Through the dynamic combination of archival footage and rotoscopic animation, Tower reveals the untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting.

Whose Streets? (2017, dir. Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis) 101 minutes. Magnolia Home Entertainment. DVD. Available from various distributors. Does not include captioning. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of Ferguson, Missouri. Footage shot on cellphones and hand-held video cameras lend the film an immediacy and urgency in this unflinching look at the uprising told by the activists and leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Dewey the Cat’s Favorite:   Kedi (2017, dir. Ceyda Torun) 80 minutes. Oscilloscope Laboratories. DVD and blu-ray. Available from various distributors. In Turkish with English subtitles. A city symphony of Istanbul told through the eyes of its street cats and the community that cares for them.

The 2018 Notable Films for Adults Committee:

Kati Irons Perez (Chair), Pierce County Library System, Cecilia Cygnar, Niles Public Library District, Philip Hallman, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan, Tiffany Hudson, Salt Lake City Public Library, Kyle Knight, St. Louis Public Library, Kathleen Morley, Seattle Public Library, Lorraine Wochna, Alden Library, Ohio University

Insecure: A Cultural Milestone

Since its debut last October, the HBO series Insecure has been a hit. Following the dating adventures, work fiascos, and overall personal struggles (and successes!) of LA-native Issa Dee, played by co-creater of the show Issa Rae, it is hilarious and dynamic, with a talented cast and a seamless music selection to support its complex plotline. However, what makes the show so hard-hitting is how authentic it is in its depiction and support of black American culture and black womanhood, in particular. Continue reading “Insecure: A Cultural Milestone”

How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre

The horror genre is one that catches a lot of negativity for it’s inherently evil subject matter and it’s necessity to adhere to traditions that are often written off as clichés, but I’m here to discuss why horror movies are on the rise and how It (2017) may just reinvent the entire genre… Continue reading “How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre”

Only with the Heart

The Little Prince, otherwise known as Le Petite Prince is a novella published in 1943 by the late author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The French novella is known as one of the most successful books in history, and is the origin of one of the most popular French quotes: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The book introduces heart tugging themes such as loss, love, and growing up… Continue reading “Only with the Heart”

Indiana University Cinema … A Place For Film™: Film Streaming at IU

I recently sat down with Barbara Ann O'Leary, #DirectedbyWomen founder, to provide an overview of free online streaming resources courtesy of IUB Libraries.  A special shout out to all Media Services' students who contribute immensely to Media Beat. -- Monique Threatt

Cinephiles in IU Cinema’s community on the lookout for intriguing film viewing opportunities have a treasure trove of online streaming resources available for free through IU Media Services at Indiana University Libraries

Continue reading “Indiana University Cinema … A Place For Film™: Film Streaming at IU”

Changing Fate: The Power Dynamics in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

The movie Stranger Than Fiction plays with the idea of fate, the unknown, and the inevitability of death. Harold, the main character, has to contemplate these in his adventure to uncover the one pulling his strings to his preordained death. Throughout the movie, I kept wondering about the power dynamics between Harold and his writer Karen in the grand scheme of Harold’s story. Considering that the story doesn’t in fact end with Harold’s death, questions began to arise about how preordained each scene and action is up to the final moments where Harold should in fact die. I personally argue that while Harold may feel that Karen is controlling his every step that she is in fact guiding him to a conclusion that she wanted. I don’t think fate had anything to do with the death that had been outlined for him…

Continue reading “Changing Fate: The Power Dynamics in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’”

ALA VRT Notable Videos for Adults 2017 Winners

The American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee has compiled its 2017 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding films released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults.  Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video.  The list is compiled for use by librarians and the general adult populace.

The Notable Videos for Adults Committee selected 15 outstanding titles from among 67 nominees for this year’s list of Notable Videos for Adults.  The availability of closed captions (CC) and/or subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is preferred; inclusion and exclusion of the same is indicated below.

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets (2015) 98 minutes. HBO Documentary Films. DVD.  Ro*Co Films.  Subtitles.  Invoking the controversial “Stand Your Ground” defense, a Florida man opens fire on unarmed African-American teenagers, killing Jordan Davis. [Available for checkout from Media Services]

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2016) 120 minutes; Firelight Films. DVD. PBS.  CC & SDH.  An historical overview of the rise and fall of a radical social movement that sought to empower African Americans and change the capitalist system.

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare(2016) 114 minutes. Sternal Entertainment. DVD. Kino Lorber. Subtitles.  Desperate African and Middle Eastern refugees arrive by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa and residents respond.

The First Monday in May (2016) 91 minutes. Relativity Media. DVD. Magnolia Home Entertainment. SDH.  A fundraiser for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fashion wing makes multicultural connections between East and West.

Heart of a Dog (2016) 76 minutes. Abramorama. DVD. Criterion Collection. SDH.  Experimental artist Laurie Anderson projects the canine perspective in this non-linear meditation on fear, loss, and love.

How to Change the World  (2016) 110 minutes. Sky Films. DVD. Kino Lorber. CC.This history of the developmental phases of Greenpeace serves as a primer for environmental activism and political organizing for social change.

Last Day of Freedom (2016) 32 minutes. Grasshopper Film. DVD. CC.  His image altered by the animation technique of rotoscoping, the sibling of a death row inmate recounts the military service and PTSD leading up to his brother’s crime and punishment.

Long Story Short (2016) 45 minutes. Icarus Films. DVD. CC.  Based on interviews with residents of California homeless shelters, the filmmaker uses creative audio and visual techniques to distill hundreds of stories of poverty into a single message.

Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine (2015) 89 minutes. Logo Documentary Films. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC.  Friends of the Wyoming student and hate crime victim remember his life while also revealing the depth and longevity of their grief. [Available for checkout from Media Services]

OJ: Made in America (2016) 520 minutes. ESPN Films. DVD. CC.  An encyclopedic analysis of the sociological impact of the murder trial of OJ Simpson, as seen through the lens of race, celebrity, and class. [Available at IUB Law Library]

Sembene! (2016) 89 minutes. Impact Partners. DVD. Kino Lorber. CC.  Ousmane Sembène, a laborer and son of a fisherman, becomes a pioneering and controversial African filmmaker.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry  (2016) 93 minutes.  Music Box Films. DVD. Cinema Guild. SDH.  The women who raised consciousness, organized, and demonstrated for equal rights, tell the history of second wave feminism. [Available from IUPUI Library]

Under the Sun  (2016) 110 minutes. Icarus Films. DVD. Subtitles.  Officially sanctioned footage demonstrates the mesmerizing, pervasive power of rhetoric, repetition, and propaganda in North Korean life. 

Welcome to Leith  (2015) 86 minutes. First Run Features. DVD. SDH.  Residents of Leith, North Dakota, struggle with democratic principles when a white supremacist buys property and moves to their small town. [Available via online streaming]

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2016) 116 minutes. Netflix. DVD. Eagle Vision. Subtitles.  The complex and emotionally charged life of legendary musician and activist Nina Simone is chronicled. [Being cataloged, ask staff]

Be sure to check with Media Services for availability of titles.  “We Like to Watch!” (an old ALA VRT motto!)

~ Monique Threatt

American Political Shows and Movies to Get Your Mind Off of American Politics

776Media Beat Blog HeaderWith the recent election and a newly elected president, there have been many talks about politics. Here are some of the items we have in our collection with a focus on all that good political stuff (or you can watch these to get your mind off of the most recent election! Whichever you prefer, here are some quality pieces of entertainment for you, at the Media Services Library in Wells)…

Continue reading “American Political Shows and Movies to Get Your Mind Off of American Politics”