German Films Available in Media Services

If you are in the market to expand your knowledge of the German language then look no further.

Das Experiment
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This film released in 2001 was inspired by the Stanford Prison Experiments conducted in 1971. Das Experiment gives a glimpse on the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The film does have scenes of brutality and psychological torture therefore; watch at your own discretion.

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
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This film released in 2005 is about the last days of Sophie Scholl. Sophie Scholl born in 1921 was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance group White Rose. White Rose was founded by students at the University of Munich whom used non-violent means to oppose the Third Reich. The Last Day has superb acting and should not be missed.

Click here for additional German films in the Wells Library Media collection.

-Justin

Claymation and Stop Motion films

We often enjoy animated films because of the beautiful artwork that goes into them.  Companies such as Pixar and Disney, as well as Studio Ghibli in Japan, are well-known for their excellent storytelling through animation.  However, there are other types of  animation that are just as amazing and innovative, such as claymation and stop motion films.  With these films, the creators hand-make the set pieces and the characters and spend hours upon hours moving the pieces to create shots for the film.  It is an extremely detailed and time-consuming work.  In honor of those creators, I would like to present a list of five films that exclusively use claymation and/or stop motion.

  1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Bored with the same old scare and scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere.

  1. Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Mr. and Mrs. Fox live a happy home life underground with their eccentric son Ash. Mr. Fox works as a journalist, but against the advice of Badger, his attorney, he moves his family into a larger and finer home inside a tree on a hill. The treehouse has an excellent view of the nearby farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Ash becomes hostile when his cousin, Kristofferson, joins the family for an extended stay. Mr. Fox decides to raid the farms, but this leads the farmers to stakeout the treehouse. The farmers try to dig the Fox family out, but they dig even faster. Mr. Fox organizes a tunneling project to burrow under all three farms and steal all the chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

  1. Coraline

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A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home and save her family.

  1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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Christmas will be cancelled unless Santa can find a way to guide his sleigh through a blizzard.

  1. The Boxtrolls

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A community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they’ve built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher, comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls, Eggs decides to venture above ground, ‘into the light,’ where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save Eggs’ family.

Bonus: All of these titles are available at Media Services!

 

-Alanna Dawley

 

Introduction to Anime

Japanese anime tends to have a reputation in the western world for being wildly “out there” and the only people that tend to like anime are just as wildly “out there.” But anime has a very broad selection of genres that can appeal to anyone, just as western film and TV. And honestly, you have probably already seen some anime that has gained popularity in the west (i.e. Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Inuyasha). For those who are curious about delving deeper into the world of anime, but don’t know how or where to start, here is a list of great anime films and series (separated by genre) to get you started!

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Cowboy Bebop

The futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter, Spike Spiegel, and his partners. Set in the year 2071, this episodic crime noir begins on the Spaceship Bebop, where Spike’s group of bounty hunters are constantly looking for their next bounty head.

Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, this series is well-known for it’s cool atmosphere and widely revered soundtrack.

 

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Samurai Champloo

Fuu, a waitress who works in a teahouse, rescues two master swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, from their execution to help her find the “samurai who smells of sunflowers.” The show follows the three as they journey through Edo period Japan in search for this mysterious samurai, all the while getting into trouble everywhere they go.

Another acclaimed series by director Shinichirō Watanabe, Samurai Champloo combines a historic backdrop with modern hip-hop styles and references.

 

Comedy/Slice of Life

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Fruits Basket

After her mother’s death, Tohru Honda finds herself living with the “prince” of her high school, Yuki Sohma, after her tent is destroyed in a landslide. Yuki, along with the rest of the Sohmas have a secret though. When hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Shenanigans ensue and new friendships are formed in this heart-warming series directed by Akitaro Daichi.

 

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Clannad & Clannad: After Story

A high school student, Tomoya, who cares little about school or others meets a lonely girl, Nagisa, who had to repeat a year while all her friends finished high school. They become unlikely friends as he helps her to revive the drama club. Making friends along the way, their bond grows deeper and they decide to become a couple. The After Story takes place immediately, where the first “season” ends, following their relationship.

This series (one of my personal favorites) is as hilarious as it is heart-breaking. You learn so much about the characters and their lives. I can’t recommend this series enough. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara.

 

Psychological/Thriller

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Elfen Lied

University students Kohta and Yuka (Kohta’s cousin) save a girl around their age called when they see her washed up on a beach. They quickly realize this girl, called Lucy, isn’t human. She is a Diclonius that has a escaped from a government facility where she was being studied. Committing mass murder in her escape, the ones responsible are desperate to find her. This proves difficult when her personality is split from a head injury, causing her to shed her violent persona for a clueless girl who doesn’t know what she is. Directed by Mamoru Kanbe.

 

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Ergo Proxy

In a post-apocalyptic future, humans live in peace with androids in a domed city called Romdeau. However, a strange series of murders has intrigued bored inspector Re-L Mayer when it appears robots that have been infected with a virus, causing self-awareness, seem to be responsible. This series, directed by Shukō Murase, has been critically praised for it’s well-paced plot and atmosphere.

 

 

Romance

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Children Who Chase Lost Voices

A coming of age story involving young love. Asuna hears mysterious music coming from a crystal radio, left to her by her absent father, that leads her deep into the hidden world, Agartha.

Beautiful artwork combined with an adventurous plot, this film is a must-see for everyone. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, who has been called “the new Miyazaki.”

 

 

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Garden of Words

A 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman find an unlikely friendship one rainy day in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. These two broken pieces come together and heal one another as they learn what it is to walk.

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing the artwork is in this film. If you won’t see it for the story, which is beautiful, then see it for the artwork. You won’t regret it. Also directed by Makoto Shinkai. Surprise, surprise.

 

Drama/Tragedy

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5 Centimeters Per Second

Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.

Beautiful artwork mixed with a tragic plot about the heart-break of love, this film is another masterpiece directed by Makoto Shinkai.

 

 

Wolf Children

College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf. After he dies in an accident with uncertain circumstances, Hana decides to move to the rural countryside where her husband grew up to raise her two werewolf children.

A story about family and understanding, Wolf Children will tug at your heartstrings. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda.

 

 

And, of course, anything created by Studio Ghibli is a must-see…

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**All movies mentioned above are in our collection at Media Services**

November Staff Picks!

 

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Some selections from our No Shave November shelf.

The horror flicks and campy, witchy TV series have been tucked back into the regular browsing stacks. The icy November wind has brought in a gust of new films for your perusal on the Staff Picks shelf, located across from the our front desk, centered around a few seasonal themes.  Here are some featured titles; let us know if you have any suggestions for films you’d like us to include!

Native American Heritage Month:

  • Long Journey Home, a documentary about the former chief of the Delaware tribe in Indiana.
  • Barking Water, a quirky road movie about an elderly native man reconnecting with his family and his past.
  • Up Heartbreak Hill, a PBS documentary following three Navajo teenagers at a reservation high school.

No-Shave November:

Thanksgiving:

  • Pieces of April, a comedy of errors resulting when conservative suburban family’s prodigal daughter hosts their Thanksgiving dinner on the Lower East Side.
  • The Ice Storm, in which two Connecticut families find their lives spiral out of control over Thanksgiving weekend, 1973.
  • Capturing the Friedmans, a documentary about a family torn on Thanksgiving Day apart when the father and youngest son are charged with horrific crimes.

Wild Card:

  • Our fourth and final shelf will rotate weekly and take its theme from a holiday, actor’s birthday, or topical event that falls on that week. This week: it’s Matthew McConaughey’s birthday today, so expect only the rangiest, drawliest films with the most distant stares.

Anime in the Spotlight: Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata (1935- ), alongside Hayao Miyazaki, is one of the founding directors of Studio Ghibli, the anime studio that is best known in America.  He began his career at Toei Animation on a whim and soon began working as an animator, assistant director, and full director before moving on to other anime studios, including A Production, Nippon Animation, and Tokyo Movie Shinsha.  He eventually began working with Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli, where he has worked since 1985 and recently released the film The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013).

Continue reading “Anime in the Spotlight: Isao Takahata”

Anime in the Spotlight: Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is best known as the “God of manga” for his great contributions to the golden age of manga, but he was also extremely influential through his dedication to making anime versions of his manga.  In 1961, the same year he finished medical school, Tezuka created the anime studio Mushi Production, where he directed and animated works through 1968.  Mushi Productions made the anime that Tezuka is most famous for, and they continued to animate adaptations of Tezuka’s works through 1973, when they declared bankruptcy.  In 1968, Tezuka also established Tezuka Productions, another anime studio that has primarily adapted Tezuka’s manga series and currently is helmed by Tezuka’s son, Macoto Tezuka.

Continue reading “Anime in the Spotlight: Osamu Tezuka”

Anime in the Spotlight: The Wide World of Anime

At Media and Reserve Services, we have recently begun expanding our Browsing anime collection.  Previously, we had the major works from Studio Ghibli and Satoshi Kon, as well as popular anime series like Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-6) and Cowboy Bebop (1998), but there has definitely been room for growth.  During this expansion, we have focused on collecting some fan-favorite shows, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-10), but we have also paid attention to the major creators of anime.  We currently have a display across from the desk as an introduction to our expanded collection, and this blog series will focus on discussing the major creators whose works we’ve added to our collection.

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As any anime fan will tell you, anime’s much more than a genre.  Anime, or Japanese animation, is a complete visual medium, with all of the variety and experimentation and repetition than any medium has.  If you ask most Americans, they’ll probably have heard of a few big hitters, like Hayao Miyazaki, who won an Oscar for Spirited Away (2003), or Pokémon, which began running on American TV in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since, or maybe even Akira (1988), which was one of the first anime films to see a theatrical release in America.  Outside of a select few, though, American appreciation of anime in its many forms is largely confined to a small but fervent fanbase.  Despite this lack of mainstream attention, anime is still an important part of film and television, which is why we’ve focused on developing our collection.

There are several ways to approach anime as a whole.  Generally, anime fandom focuses on the different demographics within anime–is it for men or women, boys or girls, or general audiences?–or on major genres, like magical girls or giant robots.  Though these perspectives work well for most current TV anime, they leave many holes through which more complex films can fall, like Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies (1988), which addresses the struggle to survive during the firebombings of Kobe during World War II.  Grave of the Fireflies is a historical drama that’s difficult to pigeonhole regarding its target audience, since its main characters are children, but it addresses very mature themes that are difficult for even adults to come to terms with.  Some TV anime series are just as complex, like Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997), which appears to be a fantasy series for teenage girls but explores themes of identity, sexuality, and agency in increasingly abstract ways.

Because of the complexities inherent in great anime, this blog series will approach the medium from a chronological and thematic perspective, addressing one or two major players within anime per blog post.  Most of the posts will look at directors, like Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, while others will look at important studios, animators, manga authors, and character designers.  Due to the breadth of anime and the amount that has not been released for American audiences, this series will by no means be comprehensive, but it will cover most of the big names within the industry, beginning with Osamu Tezuka (best known for Astro Boy (1963)).  I look forward to seeing you next time!

My Bleeding Heart: Horror Announcements

Hello to everyone out there on the interwebs! As part of M/RS’s new blog, I’m going to be posting a series centering on the most bone-chilling (and sometimes hilarious) genres of all time: horror.

Over the tumblr_inline_mubd8hEtrZ1r409prpast six months, we have been working hard to build a horror collection to be proud of, and we’ve added approximately 150 new titles to our collection. These titles range from silly–Aaah! Zombies!! (2007)–to classic–The Blob (1958)–to disturbing–Last House on the Left (1972). We’ve added several television titles as well–True Blood: Season 1 (2008), Teen Wolf (2011), and American Horror Story (2011) to name a few. Best of all, these titles have been added to our browsing collection so our patrons can take them home for a longer amount of time and have easier access.

This new collection was created through the requests of our patrons, new curriculum here at the university, and the ever-growing presence of horror and horror elements in contemporary media. Not only are horror remakes as popular as ever, but now horror is becoming more prevalent in pieces that combine comedy, drama, suspense, etc. in ways that only promote horror’s progressional aspects all the more.

In this series, I’ll be addressing the evolution of the horror genre on film. The series will focus on identifying horror’s major subgenres and the influences behind these movements. I’ll also look at the original titles that started it all as well as more modern films that fit into these categories. If you’re interested in checking out some horror history a little bit sooner, here are two interesting documentaries to get you started–Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006) and Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009). Otherwise, stay tuned!