During last semester our Media Librarian, Philip Bahr had the opportunity to preview many outstanding academic films during a 4-day National Media Market conference. Upon returning he decided to purchase the top 10 films from a list of 25 he found outstanding. They are already in our collection here at the Fairfield University Library. The links below each title allow you to access film trailers where available and reviews:
America the Beautiful
Filmmaker Darryl Roberts goes on a five year journey to examine America’s growing obsession with physical beauty and perfection, unearthing its origins and deadly risks… we see how increasingly unattainable images contribute to the rise in low self-esteem, body dismorphia, and eating disorders for young women and girls who also happen to be the beauty industry’s largest consumers.
(Faculty: think about using these first two films along with Codes of Gender below to replace Killing Us Softly in your curriculum)
This deeply personal and funny film asks some tough questions … How do our families influence our relationships with our own bodies? How do popular culture “standards” get inside of our hearts and heads? In what ways can sports actually make us sicker instead of healthier? Former champion athletes, including David Scott, Ellen Hart Pena and Brenda Maller share their stories while notable luminaries such as playwright Eve Ensler, author Paul Campos and cultural critic Naomi Wolf provide their insights.
The Botany of Desire
Featuring Michael Pollan and based on his best-selling book, this special takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world — seen from the plants’ point of view. Narrated by Frances McDormand, the program shows how four familiar species — the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato — evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control.
Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary
investigates a unique cinematic genre through encounters with some of its most influential practitioners. Over 30 luminaries – including Albert Maysles, Errol Morris, Alanis Obomsawin, Michel Brault, Nick Broomfield, Kim Loginotto and that great iconoclast Werner Herzog – offer insight into their crafts while reflecting on the nature of representation and the perennially contested status of the “truth.” More than 100 clips from landmark films enliven the discussion, offering a panoramic overview of contemporary documentary cinema.
(we have a list of filmmakers from this documentary and their film titles we have in our collection to compliment Capturing Reality… ask for it)
Codes of Gender: Identity and Performance in Pop Culture
applies the late sociologist Erving Goffman’s groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape, showing how one of American popular culture’s most influential forms communicates normative ideas about masculinity and femininity… In striking visual detail, The Codes of Gender explores Goffman’s central claim that gender ideals are the result of ritualized cultural performance, uncovering a remarkable pattern of masculine and feminine displays and poses. It looks beyond advertising as a medium that simply sells products, and beyond analyses of gender that focus on biological difference or issues of objectification and beauty, to provide a clear-eyed view of the two-tiered terrain of identity and power relations.
profiles the farmers, thinkers, and business people across the nation who are at the forefront of re-inventing food production in America.
is a documentary film about copyright and remix culture… web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age. Utilizing technical expertise and a ferocious creative streak, Girl Talk repositions popular music to create a wild and edgy dialogue between artists from all genres and eras. But are his practices legal? Do his methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?
Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador)
For Spaniards—and for the world—nothing has expressed the country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport… reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena, the acclaimed Maripaz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity, confronting both bull and social code. But what emerges in the film as their truest motivation is their sheer passion—for bullfighting, and in their pursuit of a dream.
Theater of War
captures Meryl Streep groping for – and then seizing – the character in her unforgettable portrayal of Mother Courage in Tony Kushner’s adaptation of the Bertold Brecht masterpiece Mother Courage and Her Children, which was presented by The Public Theater/NY Shakespeare Festival in Central Park in the summer of 2006.
Your Life, Your Money
features compelling real-life stories of young people finding their way through a variety of economic challenges, “Your Life, Your Money” delivers basic financial advice in a simple and relatable manner. This one-hour special raises fiscal consciousness on everything from banking and credit to investments, budgeting, insurance and self employment.