Hi everyone, here are our recommended non-fiction DVDs for this week!
(Click on the photos to request the DVDs)
Wattstax: The 30th Anniversary Edition:
Description: They called Wattstax the “black Woodstock,” but there are many differences between that seminal hippie event and the 1972 concert documented in this 30th-anniversary special-edition reissue. Woodstock was all about peace, love, and music. Wattstax, held three years later in Los Angeles, had those elements as well; but as this 103-minute film reminds us, it was a more socio-politically charged event, with its emphasis on black pride and the simple opportunity for African Americans to assert that, in opening speaker Jesse Jackson’s words, “I am somebody.” There’s also a good deal less music in this film than in the Woodstock movie. As the title suggests, a host of great Stax Records artists (including Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Bar-Kays, the Staple Singers, Albert King, and show closer Isaac Hayes) performed, but much of Wattstax doesn’t even take place inside the L.A. Coliseum, where the concert was held, but rather in the churches and shops and on the streets of Watts itself (music fans would be better off checking out the Wattstax double CD). Wattstax, in fact, is much less a music movie than a chronicle of black life seven years after the Watts race riots, as well as what comedian Richard Pryor (who delivers several hilarious but scathing bits) calls “a soulful expression of the black experience.” –Sam Graham, Amazon review.
Dewey: DVD 781.64 WAT
The Ritchie Boys:
Description: Run out of Germany by the Nazis, a small contingent of German Jewish intellectuals exacted the perfect revenge–returning to Europe as U.S. soldiers to defeat the enemy. Groundbreaking and unforgettable, THE RITCHIE BOYS is the never-before-told tale of a handful of German nationals who used their language and cultural knowledge to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis and to liberate Europe. Still sharp as octogenarians, The Ritchie Boys –a medley of hilariously unlikely soldiers–vividly recall their treacherous and heroic slog through World War II, from their training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland to the beaches of Normandy, from dark weeks spent in a German POW camp to D-Day ebullience. Now highly successful artists, businessmen, and professors, The Ritchie Boys laugh at their clumbsy fit within the U.S. military, cry at the horrors of war, and marvel at the unorthodox–but effective–forms of interrogation and subterfuge that helped them to defeat the Nazis.
Shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and widely acclaimed upon its release, THE RITCHIE BOYS mixes newsreels with razor-sharp interviews to spin a touchingly personal saga of men whose chutzpah, ingenuity, and playful camaraderie had a lasting effect on world history. A great human tale (San Francisco Chronicle), THE RITCHIE BOYS is a documentary of staggering importance.
Dewey: DVD 940.5481 RIT
Panihari: The Water Women of India:
Description: Indian-American filmmakers Abi Devan and Sudhi Rajagopal return to their homeland to document life in the desert communities of Rajasthan. Their journey leads them to the Panihari (women who fetch water). The film centers around one woman, Paru, a shoemaker’s wife, as she struggles against nature and society to attain self-reliance for her family and herself. Paru’s story coveys the richness and complexity of desert life as well as the extreme obstacles women in India still face today. Vibrant imagery, music, and folklore combine to paint a vivid picture of life as a Panihari.
Dewey: DVD 954.05 PAN
Have a great day!