Video Round Table

Notable Videos for Adults 2003


The following 15 titles were selected by the VRT Notable Videos Committee at ALA Midwinter, Philadelphia, January 2003.

Calle 54. Miramax. DVD, $19.49 (home use). 106min. 2001. http://www.Calle54film.com

More than vibrant Latin jazz performances filmed at Manhattan’s Sony Music Studios on 54th Street, the DVD version presents a fusion of documentary and concert film.

A Child’s Century of War. First Run/Icarus. $248.00. 90min. 2001.

The universal victimization and escalating induction of children into war are explored through footage, photos, facts, and memoirs. Chechens, Sierra Leone, and Jewish and Palestinian children are victims in our new century.

Confederacy Theory. Univ. of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning Berkeley.  $275.00 56min. 2002.

This documentary explores the controversial history, symbolic meanings, and emotions surrounding the Confederate flag, focusing on the debate over South Carolina’s choice to fly the Confederate flag over the capitol.
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Visit the official Confederacy Theory site to view a video preview. 

Dogtown & Z-Boys. Sony. $16.99 VHS, (home use). DVD, $21.29. 91min. 2001. http://www.sonyclassics.com/dogtown/

Using newly compiled archival footage, Dogtown tells the story of a group of renegade surfers who started a cultural and skateboarding revolution.

Domestic Violence. Zipporah.  $400.00. 196min. 2001.

Domestic Violence effectively conveys the rampancy of this cultural epidemic. We see the daily struggles of victims and caregivers and their similarities to ourselves.

Gao Rang. First Run/Icarus. $390.00.  52min. 2001.

In this program, the history of Vietnamese cinema, from its origins in war cinematography to today’s Vietnamese film school, is examined. It also addresses the deterioration of the country’s historical films.

The Gleaners and I. Zeitgeist. $29.99. 82min. 2002 (DVD release). 

The Gleaners and I combines expressionistic film, reportage, and history into a fascinating view of consumerism and the value of used cultural and industrial products. 

Independent Spirits. Pyramid Media. $195. 56min. 2001.

This inspirational story of Faith and John Hubley, non-traditional animators, tells of their improvisational, poetic style, unique for its social consciousness and innovative use of music.

Mai’s America. Women Make Movies. $295.00. 72min. 2002.  

A young Vietnamese exchange student travels to America with high hopes and ambitions and reveals her bittersweet experiences with the culture and the American dream.

Paragraph 175. New Yorker. 2002. DVD, $29.95. 81min. 2002.

Historian Klaus Müller interviews homosexual survivors of the Nazi persecution resulting from Paragraph 175, German Penal Code of 1871.

Porraimos: Europe’s Gypsies in the Holocaust. Cinema Guild. $295.00. 57min. 2002.

Incorporating archival footage, photographs, and interviews with Holocaust survivors, Porraimos examines the little known history of the eugenic torture and murder of 600,000 Gypsies during the Holocaust.

Postville: When Cultures Collide. PBS. $69.95. 56min. 2001.

This production explores a small Iowa town dealing with cultural changes after hundreds of Hasidic Jews, Mexicans, and Russians take up residence during the last decade.

Refrigerator Mothers. Fanlight. $229.00  53min. 2002.

During the 1950s, doctors attributed autism to cold, unfeeling mothers. Courageous mothers chronicle their experiences with the Bettleheim treatment, social stigma, and challenges of raising happy autistic children.

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy. PBS. $49.95. 90min. 2001.

An examination of the complex case involving nine African-American young men falsely accused and tried for rape in 1930s Alabama, as well as the impact of the verdict on the civil rights movement.

Sex: Unknown. WGBH. $19.95. 60min. 2001. 

This title follows the personal case studies of gender re-assigned children, providing an emotional and informative overview of a common, yet often unspoken, condition.

Notable Video for Adults, 2003, committee members: 

  • Rue Herbert, chair, University of South Florida;
  • Travis Baultz, Dayton-Montgomery County (OH) Public Library;
  • Steve Brantley, University of Illinois at Chicago;
  • Lisbeth Goldberg, Arlington County (VA) Public Library;
  • Fang Gu, California State University, Sacramento;
  • Cecilia Hurt, University of North Texas;
  • Carleton Jackson, University of Maryland;
  • Lori Stevens, Utah Valley State College;
  • Sue-Ellen Beauregard, consultant, Booklist, Chicago, IL.