Video Round Table 2001 Notable Videos for Adults
The following list, selected by the 2000-2001 Notable Video for Adults Committee, represents the best videos produced during the past two years.
42 Up. Producer/director Michael Apted. Available with public performance rights from First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court Street, 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Also available on home video. 130 minutes.
Filmmaker Michael Apted revisits 11 of the 14 Britons he's interviewed every seven years since 1964 when they were children in this remarkable sociological project.
American Movie: The Making of Northwestern. Producers Sarah Price and Chris Smith. Director Chris Smith. Columbia TriStar Home Video. VHS and DVD. Home video sources. 104 minutes.
Chris Smith's portrait of filmmaker Mark Borchardt's attempts to make a movie offers a humorous, insightful and oddly moving behind-the-scenes look at fringe independent filmmaking.
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. Producer, writer, director Michael Paxton. Strand Home Video. VHS and DVD. Home video sources. 144 minutes.
In this Oscar-nominated feature-length biopic, Michael Paxton presents an altogether fascinating portrait of the controversial philosopher/novelist.
The Brandon Teena Story. Producers, directors, editors Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir. Zeitgeist Films; distributed by New Video. VHS and DVD. Home video sources. 88 minutes.
The life and tragic murder of Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, illustrates one community's response to issues of gender and identity.
Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment. Director Peter Wintonick. Producer Adam Symansky. Distributor: National Film Board of Canada, 22-D Hollywood Ave., Hohokus, NJ 07423. 102 minutes.
Filmmaker Peter Wintonick explores the influential cinema verite film movement of the 50's and 60's through interviews with masters of the genre and clips from key films.
Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians. Writer, producer, director Anne Makepeace. Distributor: Bullfrog Films, P.O. Box 149, Oley, PA 19547. 56 minutes.
Anne Makepeace's moving biography of Edward S. Curtis, the pioneer photographer of American Indians, also visits descendants of Curtis's subjects who today use his images to revive the past.
Jeni LeGon: Living in a Great Big Way. Producer Selwyn Jacob. Director Grant Greschuk. Distributor: The Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016-7038. 49 minutes.
Grant Greschuk's luminous biography travels from Chicago to Hollywood, London, and Vancouver, as African-American dancer Jeni LeGon, students, friends, and historians review her extraordinary life and career in a segregated society.
Michael J. Moore's thought-provoking film traces the genesis of California's "three strikes" law, and examines the haunting "legacy" of an expensive system heavily populated by non-violent offenders.
On Our Own Terms (Moyers on Dying). Producer/director Gail Pellett. Distributor: Films for the Humanities & Sciences. 4 parts, 90 minutes each.
Bill Moyers explores the agonizing decisions made by terminally ill patients and their families in this informative and touching four-part series.
One Day Longer: Story of the Frontier Strike. Producer/director Amie S. Williams. Distributor: CineVegas, 2501 N. Green Valley Pkwy., #118-D Henderson, Nevada 89014. 50 minutes.
For seven years Las Vegas hospitality workers fought their for jobs, wages, and benefits at the Frontier Hotel, in the longest strike in labor history.
Rabbit in the Moon. Producers Emiko Omori and Chizuko Omori. Directed, written, and narrated by Emiko Omori. Distributor: Transit Media, 22-D Hollywood Avenue, Hohokus, NJ 07423. 85 minutes.
Filmmaker Emiko Omori's memoir examines the effects of World War II internment on Japanese-Americans, focusing upon the lasting divisions within their minority community.
Sing Faster: The Stagehand's Ring Cycle. Distributor: Direct Cinema, Ltd., P.O. Box 10003, Santa Monica, CA 90410. 56 minutes.
The feats and follies of the San Francisco Opera Company's technical crew are profiled in this funny, irreverent, behind-the-scenes view of Wagner's 17-hour Ring Cycle.
Stranger with a Camera. Producer/director Elizabeth Barret. Distributor: California Newsreel, 149 9th Street, Suite 420, San Francisco, CA 94103. 60 minutes.
Elizabeth Barret revisits the murder of Canadian filmmaker Hugh O'Connor in poverty-stricken Jeremiah, Kentucky, circa 1967, while also questioning the media's ethics in publicly shaming a poor community.
Walking with Dinosaurs. Producer Jasper James. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Discovery Channel. VHS and DVD. Home video sources. 12 parts, 30 minutes
Jurassic Park meets National Geographic in this realistic, animated view of 155 million years of dinosaur history. The DVD version shows how animators and paleontologists worked together to answer scientific questions.
Well-Founded Fear. A film by Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. Distributor: Epidavros Project, 141 West 28th Street, Suite 6B, New York, NY 10001. 119 minutes.
Told from the perspective of political asylum applicants and asylum officers, this real-life drama examines the utterly human mix of humanity, bureaucracy and serendipity in deciding the course of people's lives.