NZ Music on Screen: NZ Music Month

Each year during May it is always New Zealand Music Month, but 2020 is an unusual one due to the COVID-19. It is forcing artists to find new ways of working and connecting with audiences, and there are a surprising number of things still happening. Check out the NZ Music Month official website as well as our Wellington Music blog and facebook. To celebrate and support New Zealand music and artists, we have selected some fantastic films available on Beamfilm and Kanopy. They include the documentary about Martin Phillipps (The Chills) and two iconic New Zealand movies (An Angel at my Table and Dean Spanley) for which Don McGlashan (Blam Blam Blam, The Mutton Birds) did the soundtracks. Be calm, kind and enjoy the movies!


The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps

Year: 2019
Length: 95 minutes
Directors: Julia Parnell and Rob Curry

Watch the full film here!

Martin Phillipps came tantalizingly close to conquering the international musical world with his band The Chills, but instead fell into decades of debt and addiction in his hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. At 54, he’s been given a dire medical prognosis, forcing him to face his demons and realise his musical ambitions before it’s too late.


The Pa Boys

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Himiona Grace

Watch the full film here!

A contemporary story with a strong message, PA BOYS, follows a Wellington reggae band as they embark on a tour ‘down north’, from Wellington to Cape Reinga. Staring Fran Kora (from the band KORA) and Matariki Whatarau (Go Girls, The Almighty Johnsons), PA BOYS is a story about life, death and music. As the band tours, their travels expose Danny (Kora) and Tau (Whatarau) to a spiritual history that cannot be avoided and when unresolved events from their past must be confronted it’s Danny who holds the key.


Topp Twins Untouchable Girls

Year: 2009
Length: 81 minutes
Director: Leanne Pooley

Watch the full film here!

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls” is the first time that the irrepressible Kiwi entertainment double act, Jools and Lynda Topp’s extraordinary personal story has been told. The film offers a revealing look into the lives of the World’s only comedic, country singing, dancing, and yodeling lesbian twin sisters. As well as rarely seen archive footage and home movies, the film features a series of special interviews with some of the Topp’s infamous comedy alter-egos including candid chats with the two Kens, Camp Mother and Camp Leader.


Born To Dance

Year: 2015
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Tammy Davis

Watch the full film here!

Champion hip hop dancer, Tu Kaea, has the chance to audition for K-Crew, the best hip hop crew in the country, but he has to go behind the backs of his home crew and his best friend Benjy. Things get even more complicated when he starts falling for Sasha, the girlfriend of K-Crew’s leader. When Tu’s old crew and new crew clash, he has to make a decision that will change his life forever.


An Angel At My Table

Year: 1990
Length: 158 minutes
Directors: Jane Campion

Watch the full film here!

Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame. Beautifully capturing the colour and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.


Dean Spanley

Year: 2008
Length: 97 minutes
Directors: Toa Fraser

Watch the full film here!

A dog may be man’s best friend but in Dean Spanley it is also the key to reconnecting Henslow Fisk and his ailing father, Horatio. After attending a lecture given by a visiting Swami on ‘The Transmigration of Souls’, the Fisks run into eccentric Dean Spanley. Soon, Henslow discovers the Dean may be more connected to the Fisks than they could ever have imagined!

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Louise’s Māori and Pasifika Picks

Our Kanopy and Beamafilm streaming platforms have a great selection of FREE content from Aotearoa and the Pacific. It’s always good to see our own cultures represented on the screen, so while we are still spending a lot of time at home grab the opportunity to watch some gems that have a Māori and Pasifika kaupapa!

This blog only highlights a small selection of films including emotional movies, documentaries, and a feel good gem about musicians and finding yourself. You will find more if you search ‘Māori’, ‘New Zealand’, or a specific Pasifika country within Kanopy or Beamafilm.

Go ahead and immerse yourself in the stories of Aotearoa and the Pacific!


The Orator

Year: 2011
Length: 106 minutes
Director: Tusi Tamasese

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm!

The Orator is a beautiful and emotional movie that was written and directed by Samoan film-maker Tusi Tamasese and shot entirely in Samoan on location in Samoa itself. Saili’s story is one of love and challenges as he learns he must stand tall, despite his small stature, to become a hero. Highly recommended.

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You can also watch Tamasese’s other feature film, One Thousand Ropes, on Kanopy.


Kuo Hina E Hiapo: The Mulberry is White and Ready for Harvest

Year: 2001
Length: 28 minutes
Directors: Joseph Ostraff, Melinda Ostraff

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Tapa cloth is a true artistic treasure of the Pacific. In Tonga it is called ngatu and this short documentary illustrates  ngatu’s symbolic importance and collaborative production. Beautiful and fascinating!

Discover More:

Our Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwi/Pasefika popular topic page provides links to all sorts of Pasefika books and online resources.


Mauri

Year: 1988
Length: 100 minutes
Director: Merata Mita


Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Merata Mita was the first Māori woman to write and direct a dramatic movie when she brought out Mauri in 1988. Set on the East Coast, Mauri stars Anzac Wallace (Utu) and activist Eva Rickard. This is a landmark film from a landmark Māori film maker.

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You can also watch Ngati on Kanopy, another ground-breaking  film from a Māori film maker, this time Barry Barclay.


Waru

Year: 2017
Length: 86 minutes
Directors: Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace Smith, Casey Kaa, Chelsea Winstanley, Katie Wolfe, Paula Whetu Jones, Renae Maihi

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Eight female Māori directors give us eight connected stories, each taking place at the same moment in time during the tangi of a small boy called Waru. This is a very moving and challenging film with all eight stories  subtly linked while following different female characters. All must come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward within their community.

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A tangi is at the heart of Waru. If you want to learn about Māori protocols surrounding tangi, or other Māori topics, our Māori Information Resources page is an excellent place to start.


The Rain of the Children

Year: 2008
Length: 102 minutes
Director: Vincent Ward

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

I love this film. Vincent Ward’s beautiful dramatic documentary explores the life of Tuhoe woman Puhi and her relationship to Rua Kenana and the community at Maungapohatu. Ward looks at the curse Puhi believed she lived under in an incredibly moving way, and the result is a jewel of a film.

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You can also watch Vincent Ward’s first film about Puhi, In Spring One Plants Alone, on Kanopy.


The Deadlands

Year: 2013
Length: 107 minutes
Director: Toa Fraser

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm!

Woo hoo! Revenge and action abound in Toa Fraser’s movie starring James Rolleston and Lawrence Makoare. You gotta love the use of mau rākau – a traditional Māori martial art – and a script in te reo Māori!

Discover More:

If you want to start learning te reo Māori our recent Resources to Learn Māori blog can help with all sorts of tips to get you started.


The Pa Boys

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Himiona Grace

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

My whānau love this heartfelt film about a musician and his reggae band on a road trip of music and self discovery. Francis Kora is wonderful as Danny who is unsettled, and then opened up to his culture, when Tau (Matariki Whatarau) joins the band. Music, landscape, laughs and love – beautiful and simple.

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The band in The Pa Boys sets out from Wellington where Danny lives. If you love the music scene in Wellington you can learn more about it on our dedicated Wellington Music page.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Susannah’s Horror Picks

If you are looking for some scares and chills to take your mind off the real world, then consider these five horror features on Beamafilm. From classic early black and white German cinema, to a Chinese epic, and an Australian contemporary film, there’s lots to sink your teeth into!

(Not a library member yet? No worries! Simply sign up here and then check out Beamafilm and Kanopy, our fantastic film streaming services.)


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Year: 1920
Length: 75 minutes
Director: Robert Wiene

Watch the full film here!

As the Beamafilm synopsis describes: “Two men on a park bench discuss the story of Cesare, a sleep-walking circus performer under the control of the murderous Dr. Caligari. But all, of course, is not quite as it seems.” Often cited as the first true horror film, this is the quintessential example of 1920s German Expressionism in its use of symbolism, and symbolic acting. This black and white silent classic uses non-realistic sets, costume and makeup to portray the characters’ emotional states, exploring mental illness and madness.

Discover More:

Combined Search: Did you know that the script for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was based on the wartime experiences of writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer? Learn more about this fascinating film via our eLibrary Combined Search!


Nosferatu

Year: 1922
Length: 93 minutes
Director: F.W. Murnau

Watch the full film here!

Nine years before Bela Lugosi’s legendary portrayal of Dracula, Max Schreck starred as the Dracula-inspired Count Orlok in the German Expressionist film Nosferatu. Although the filmmaker’s tried to avoid copyright infringement, it was close enough to the source material for Bram Stoker’s widow to sue and have the original prints destroyed. It is also known for the addition to the vampire mythos that sunlight is lethal to vampires. This 1922 black and white classic of silent cinema is a masterpiece of atmosphere, and its influence can still be seen in popular culture nearly 100 years later.

Discover More:

OverdriveNosferatu may be one of the first works to be influenced by Stoker’s Dracula, but it’s definitely not the only one! Explore Dracula, Dracula’s Guest, Anno Dracula and more via Overdrive and Libby.


M

Year: 1931
Length: 110 mins
Director: Fritz Lang

Watch the full film here!

Director Fritz Lang’s other classic film (the first being Metropolis, which is also available on Beamafilm), and his personal favourite, M deals with the unpleasant subject matter of a child killer in Germany 1931. The title “M” is short for mörder, the German word meaning murderer. Beautifully shot in black and white with sound, and once again part of the German Expressionist movement, this is regarded as one of Lang’s finest films, and one of the best German films ever made. It features one of Peter Lorre’s most famous roles before he fled Germany and went on to achieve international fame in Hollywood in films such as Casablanca.

Discover More:

Mango Languages: Did you know that director Fritz Lang made films in both Weimar Germany and also as part of the Hollywood system? Check out his German language productions (without the need of subtitles!) with a little help from Mango Languages.


Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame

Year: 2010
Length: 123 minutes
Director: Hark Tsui

Watch the full film here!

Not strictly a horror film, although you will find it under that category on Beamafilm, this is also an action/mystery/historical film with horror and supernatural elements. Set in 689 A.D in China, Detective Dee is called back from exile to investigate a series of fiery deaths. Featuring lots of acrobatic fighting, lavish sets, and special effects, it was so popular it has since spawned two prequels. This will appeal to anyone who is a fan of Netflix’s Korean series, Kingdom.

Discover More:

Dragonsource: Did you know that our eLibrary includes Dragonsource, a database with hundreds of Chinese language magazines in both simplified and traditional Chinese?


The Babadook

Year: 2010
Length: 123 minutes
Director: Hark Tsui

Click here for the full film!

This Australian contemporary film is about a solo mother struggling to raise her son on her own. One day she finds a disturbing storybook called “Mister Babadook”, only the story and the monster within seem to want to come out of the page. The title, Babadook is an anagram of ‘A bad book’. Debut director Jennifer Kent has created a powerful film that explores the monster that is depression and loneliness.

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RBdigital: Want to know more about the latest horror films? Check out magazines such as Empire, Hollywood Reporter and Total Film via RBdigital!

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Hannah’s Travelling Picks

Travelling introduces you to new places, new people and new cultures. However, as the world has gone into lockdown and travelling is at a standstill the only way to travel safely is vicariously through film. Thanks to the magic of film you can be transferred to somewhere outside of your bubble. Here are some films that incorporate travel and discovery that take you to France, Turkey, Spain, China, Australia and America. These films can be accessed on our wonderful streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy!


Faces Places

Year: 2018
Length: 89 minutes
Country: France
Directors: Agnès Varda and JR

Watch the full film here!

This film is simply wonderful and is a real joy to watch. It follows the iconic film director Agnès Varda as she teams up with artist JR. They go to rural parts of France in a photobooth van and take photos of locals to print off on a massive scale to paste onto the side of buildings. They travel to small villages which is great to see as they go to places that you wouldn’t think to visit. Every local they meet is friendly and has a story to tell. It makes you appreciate the importance of listening and learning from people.

Agnès says, she wants “to meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” which I can relate to as I take photos of everything as a reminder. There is a joyful playfulness to this film but there is also melancholy as Agnès wonders “if everyone that she meets will be the last”. This film celebrates and embraces life as they both marvel and wonder at every aspect and it makes you realise you need to appreciate life.

Discover More:

Beamafilm: Find out more about the artist JR by watching Inside Out The Peoples Art Project.

CIA World Factbook: Find out facts about France with the CIA World Factbook! This provides data and information on different countries so you can find out about key demographics, government, economy and more.

Lynda.com: If you want to improve your photography skills then there are heaps of useful photography tutorials on Lynda.com.


Kedi

Year: 2016
Length: 79 minutes
Country: Turkey
Director: Ceyda Torun

Watch the full film here!

This sweet and charming documentary transports you to Istanbul where there are an incredible number of stray cats roaming the streets which has been the case since the Ottoman Empire! One person in the documentary states that “without the cat Istanbul would lose a part of it’s soul” and throughout the film you can see how much of an impact the cats have on everyone. The people who take care of the cats show incredible displays of kindness, such as a café owner who donates all his tips to look after the cat who frequents his café. It’s amazing to see how cats can change and enhance people’s lives as one man states that the cats that he looks after helped him to recover from his nervous breakdown. I especially like how the camera shows you Istanbul from the cats’ point of view as they explore and wander through the city.

Discover More:

PressReader: Want to know more about cats? Then you should check out the magazine Modern Cat that is available for you to read on PressReader!

Mango Languages: Did you know that the title of the film Kedi is Turkish for cat? Learn some more Turkish words by heading to Mango Languages.


The Trip To Spain

Year: 2017
Length: 108 minutes
Country: Spain
Director: Michael Winterbottom

Watch the full film here!

This is the third installment of The Trip as comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan play fictional versions of themselves and on this occasion, they take an adventure around Spain. Steve wants to follow in the footsteps of Laurie Lee and Cervantes and their route is heavily influenced by these writers. They drive around the country and this allows us to soak up the exquisite scenery, especially Malaga’s amazing coastline road. The impressions are non-stop as they compete to be the best Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Roger Moore in a variety of fancy restaurants. If you are familiar with The Trip and The Trip to Italy then you’ll know what to expect but I still enjoy spending time with these two as their often cutting exchanges and quick-witted banter is fun to watch.

Discover More:

OverDrive: If you’re looking for new recipes to try out at home during lockdown, then check out this awesome Spanish cookbook eBook.

OverDrive: Want to read As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee that inspired the trip? Well you’re in luck as it’s available as an eBook here.

OverDrive: The other book that was mentioned a lot in The Trip To Spain is Don Quixote and this can also be borrowed from our extensive eBook collection.


The Nightingale

Year: 2015
Length: 96 minutes
Country: China
Director: Philippe Muyl

Watch the full film here!

In fast-moving, business-focused Beijing two parents Chongyi and Qianying are busy trying to make a career and don’t have enough time for their child Renxing who is glued to her iPad. The parents both have work trips at the same time, so Qianying entrusts Renxing to be looked after by her grandfather, who has previously lost her whilst under his care. Renxing and her grandfather are off on their travels to visit his village along with his bird, a nightingale. At first Renxing acts up, but they soon bond after getting lost in a luscious bamboo forest. Rural China’s scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. This film is extremely cute and lovely and the grandfather and granddaughter are engaging characters who have a beautiful rapport as they learn much from each during their journey.

Discover More:

Dragonsource: Take a look at Dragonsource for Chinese language magazines in both simplified and traditional Chinese for online reading.

Encyclopaedia Britannica: This is a treasure trove of interesting facts where you can learn more about the nightingale and specifically the Chinese nightingale too.


Dusty

Year: 1983
Length: 85 minutes
Country: Australia
Director: John Richardson

Watch the full film here!

The Australian countryside is shot stunningly in this film that is all about the bond between man and his dog. A dog gets sold to a farmer, Tom, who is told that the dog is pure kelpie but is actually part dingo. By day, Dusty becomes a trusty and reliable sheep dog but at night he does like to terrorise the sheep when his natural dingo traits come out. This causes tension on the farm as some people want Dusty dead whilst Tom has grown incredibly fond of him. The film shows how much humans and dogs can be attached to each other due to friendship and gives an insight into life in the Australian countryside.

Discover More:

OverDrive eAudiobooks: Want to know how to make your dog happy? Then listen to Cesar Milan’s Guide to a Happy Dog here.


Buddymoon

Year: 2016
Length: 79 minutes
Country: America
Director: Alex Simmons

Watch the full film here!

This silly comedy follows David and Flula as they go on what would have been David’s honeymoon hike. David has been dumped by his fiancé so his incredibly happy and enthusiastic German friend Flula decides to join the hike to cheer him up. Flula is a character that you’ll either love or hate–I love his eccentricities, strange logic and how excitable he is. David provides narration of journal entries from American pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the comparison of Meriwether to Flula is a running joke. This is a sweet bromance film that is lots of fun. Their hike into the wilderness is incredibly shot and will make you yearn for an outdoor excursion which hopefully we can do again sometime soon!

Discover More:

OverDrive: This film is all about friendship and David and Flula are best friends in real life. If you want to carry on the theme of friendship with humour thrown in then take a look at these eBooks.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Gus’ Picks for Weird & Thrilling Films

One of my favourite things to do on my Friday shift at the library is to pick through the DVDs before closing time and grab a film I’ve been meaning to see but have never had the time to check out before. While I can’t stroll through the aisles of Arapaki for the time being, exploring Kanopy and Beamafilm has been scratching that itch for me.

As someone who’s always learning more about the history of film-making and storytelling, I tend to gravitate toward strange, high-concept films and subjects; legacy directors who gained and spent multiple ‘blank checks’ over their careers to make their passion projects, festival films with off-kilter premises that become critical darlings, and weird thrillers that expand what kind of stories you can tell on a budget. These recommendations might not be what you would call ‘comfort viewing’, but I hope they can expand your film-viewing horizons as they have mine. Enjoy!


Swiss Army Man

Year: 2016
Length: 98 mins
Directors: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Watch the full film here!

A critical darling at Sundance the year of its release, Swiss Army Man follows Hank (Paul Dano) as a man trying to get back to civilization with the aid of a talking, farting corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). It’s every bit as weird as it sounds, but Dano and Radcliffe’s performances buoy the film as the friendship blossoms between the two men and they help one another discover how to be human again, although it applies to one of them a bit more literally. The physical comedy is also a treat to watch, as Radcliffe forgoes the use of a dummy to do all of the corpse’s stiff, action-figure-like stunts himself. It’s a charming, bizarre, and surprisingly moving movie about how to come back from a period of self-isolation, make lasting connections with people, and rediscover how to live in the world again.

Discover more:

PressReader and RBdigital: If watching Hank and Manny’s trek through the California pines has you missing the joys of trekking the wilderness, both PressReader and RBdigital provide online access to hundreds of magazines including many on mountaineering, tramping, and more.

Overdrive: You’ll never have a better excuse to reread the series that gave Daniel Radcliffe his first big acting break; that’s why Overdrive has made the first Harry Potter book available for free in both ebook and audiobook form in multiple languages.


Enemy

Year: 2013
Length: 91 mins
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Watch the full film here!

Director Denis Villeneuve is more associated with his recent expansive science-fiction films such as Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Dune adaptation, but there was a time where he worked on smaller thrillers, including the critically-beloved but little-seen film Enemy. Based off the novel The Double by José Saramago, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam Bell, a history professor who discovers an actor in a local film that appears to be his exact double. His actor doppelganger soon discovers Adam as well, as do each of the men’s wives. As their lives begin to intertwine, each one threatens to undo the existence of the other until the film crescendos into one of the freakiest endings to a movie I’ve ever seen.

Discover More:

Kanopy: Can’t get enough of Gyllenhaal? Kanopy also has his early hit Donnie Darko in both the theatrical and director’s cut.

Overdrive: Want to see what inspired Enemy? You can check out the works of Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer José Saramago on Overdrive.


Shin Godzilla (Shin Gojira)

Year: 2016
Length: 120 mins
Director: Hideaki Anno

Watch the full film here!

Taking a break from the reboot of his groundbreaking giant robot series Neon Genesis Evangelion, director Hideaki Anno revitalizes the Godzilla brand with Shin Godzilla, taking a more esoteric, body-horror approach to the classic kaiju (‘strange beast’). A huge hit in Japan and winner of seven Japanese Academy Prize awards, many Godzilla fans hold this as one of the best of the series. If you need to convince your housemates who aren’t as versed in genre films to check this out, the interesting twist to this iteration is that the human focus is on the government officials trying to react in real-time to Godzilla’s sudden appearance, rather than the military or a lone hero. What better film to watch now than one about a bureaucracy responding to a sudden evolving threat and using clever infrastructure solutions to mitigate harm and protect their citizens? These days, that’s a story I can get behind.

Discover More:

Kanopy: Kanopy has a range of cinema from Japan, including “ramen western” Tampopo, Studio Ghibli co-production The Red Turtle, and Tokyo Story (Tokyo monogotari), widely considered to be one of the best films ever made.

Beamafilm: Beamafilm offerings of Japanese cinema include Studio Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness and the art documentary Kusama: Infinity, which chronicles the work of Yayoi Kusama.


Good Time

Year: 2017
Length: 102 mins
Directors: Benny and Josh Safdie

Watch the full film here!

If you’ve seen and loved the Safdie brothers’ newest film Uncut Gems, it’s well worth your time to check out Good Time, their previous film from 2017. Robert Pattinson plays Constantine, a small-time crook who has to break his brother out of prison while avoiding the police and struggling to pay off a bail bondsman after a bank heist gone wrong. Flat-out from minute one, Constantine races the underbelly of New York City, churning through one unsuspecting ally after another in his desperate quest to reunite with the only family he has left. Robert Pattinson brings a raw and pitiable emotional depth to Constantine, and the Safdie brothers’ trademark use of first-time actors gives their version of New York a rough and lived-in feel.

Discover More:

Kanopy: Eager for more crime thrillers? Kanopy has you covered. Check out one of the genre’s classics, Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, or Joaquin Phoenix’s recent hit You Were Never Really Here.


Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Year: 2016
Length: 99 mins
Director: Werner Herzog

Watch the full film here!

Werner Herzog is a director I’ve always wanted to check out but was only familiar with from terrible impersonations and his surprisingly frequent cameos in primetime cartoons. Lo and Behold is a great contemporary introduction to one of cinema’s most celebrated directorial voices (and what a voice!), following Herzog’s attempt to examine the history of the Internet, from its humble origins in American university campuses to its future potential for self-awareness. Herzog tracks down original Internet Protocol engineer Robert Kahn, hacker Kevin Mitnick, and a community of people in rehab for ‘internet addiction’, among others, to examine the transformative power the Internet affords us a species, while also looking at its precarity as a construct and how our reliance on it can be socially damaging. As more and more of us have to rely on streaming, social media and web conferencing to get by, Herzog invites us to consider just how valuable the internet is to us.

Discover More:

Kanopy: Kanopy has more of Herzog’s most recent works, including crime thriller Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the Gertrude Bell biography Queen of the Desert, and the environmental thriller Salt and Fire.

PressReader and RBdigital: You can keep up with the latest science and technology news and magazines like New Scientist with both PressReader and RBdigital.


Exit Through the Gift Shop

Year: 2010
Length: 83 mins
Director: Banksy

Watch the full film here!

Cast your mind back to 2010, the heyday of street artists who turned the world into their canvas with their bold and politically loaded art and began to find mainstream success in gallery shows. A typical biopic this is not; Exit Through the Gift Shop follows not Banksy himself, but his filmmaker friend turned disciple Thierry Guetta, who first becomes embroiled in the street art community as a documentarian before deciding to become a street artist himself. Complicating matters is the long-standing accusation that this film was made as a hoax, as Thierry’s rocketing to success as a street artist can come off to some as too staged and polished for a real-life subject, a claim that has been repeatedly denied by the film-makers. Regardless of its veracity, after rewatching this in lockdown, I’m never going to take the streets for granted again.

Discover More:

Kanopy: Eager to learn more about street art? Kanopy recently added a new documentary chronicling the movement’s history, Banksy and the Rise of Outlaw Art.

PressReader and RBdigital: Both Pressreader and RBdigital provide online access to hundreds of magazines including many on art, illustration, photography and more.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Shinji’s Picks

Wellington City Libraries’ film streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy have a range of must-see international movies to get you through lockdown. Included is the Criterion Collection, which includes titles like Summer with Monika–a lovely early Bergman film with some memorable, historically famous scenes. There are also other contemporary and classic films from around the globe, from 2016’s Julieta to the cult classic Funeral Parade of Roses–and many more, including titles previously unavailable on DVD!


Summer with Monika

Year: 1953
Length: 96 minutes
Country: Sweden
Director: Ingmar Bergman

Watch the full film here!

A girl (Andersson) and boy (Lars Ekborg) from working-class families in Stockholm run away from home to spend a secluded, romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities. Inevitably, it is not long before the pair are forced to return to reality. The version initially released in the U.S. was reedited by its distributor into something more salacious, but the original Summer with Monika (Sommaren med Monika), presented here, is a work of stunning maturity and one of Bergman’s most important films. (Kanopy)

Discover more:

Mango Languages: Kanopy has a great range of films by Ingmar Bergman–but to watch them without subtitles you’re going to need to brush up on your Swedish! Get started with Mango Languages.


Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Year: 2010
Length: 110 minutes
Country: Thailand
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Watch the full film here!

Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave – the birthplace of his first life… (Kanopy)

Discover more:

Lynda.com: Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has described how for Uncle Boonme he tried to replicate the style of old Thai TV shows, where the “monsters were always in the dark to hide the cheaply made costumes. Their eyes were red lights so that the audience could spot them.” Begin your own adventure into special effects design with Lynda.com!


Funeral Parade of Roses

Year: 1969
Length: 106 minutes
Country: Japan
Director: Toshio Matsumoto

Watch the full film here!

Director Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. (Kanopy)

Discover more:

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: There are several reviews of Funeral Parade of Roses in the Archives of Sexuality and Gender–with a variety of different opinions on the film! Have a read via our eLibrary.


Julieta

Year: 2016
Length: 95 minutes
Country: Spain
Director: Pedro Almodovar

Watch the full film here!

In this powerful and thrilling family drama from contemporary auteur Pedro Almodovar, a chance encounter causes a woman (Emma Suarez) to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her daughter. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language at the BAFTA Awards. Winner of Best Lead Actress (Emma Suarez) and nominated for Best Director and Best Film at the Goya Awards. (Kanopy)

Discover more:

Overdrive: Did you know that Julieta is based on several short stories from Alice Munro? Have a read of Munro’s work via Overdrive–part of our eLibrary!


Eat Drink Man Woman

Year: 1994
Length: 124 minutes
Country: Taiwan
Director: Ang Lee

Watch the full film here!

A gastronomic delight from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain), Eat Drink Man Woman is a classic tale of simmering frustrations and relationship woes as semi-retired Master Chef Chu (Sihung Lung) shares his culinary skills and tends to his three unmarried daughters’ respective emotional journeys. (Beamafilm)

Discover more:

Gale Intereactive: Science: Did you know that Ang Lee’s wife Jane Lin is a microbiologist and university professor? (She also supported Lee before he was able to find work as a director.) Begin your own quest into science with Gale Interactive: Science–and check out the great 3D models, including one of the human body!


Tall as the Baobab Tree

Year: 2013
Length: 82 minutes
Country: Senegal
Director: Jeremy Teicher

Watch the full film here!

Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family’s remote African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family’s survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her elders and her dreams for the future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her young sister from a fate she did not choose. (Beamafilm)

Discover more:

Combined Search: Tall as the Baobab Tree is the first film to be performed in the Pulaar language–spoken by almost a quarter of Senegal’s population. To learn more about Senegal’s language, culture and history, try a combine search of our eLibrary.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Louise’s Doco Picks

If like me you are curious about the world AND an information junkie who loves non-fiction with a strong narrative then this selection of documentary movies is for you. Without hesitation I can say that documentaries are my favourite genre of movie and the best will resonate in my mind for days, months, and years to come. Documentaries help us understand our natural and human world at the same time as entertaining and informing us. I will never forget the first time I saw Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line in 1989 and became aware of the power of documentary as compelling storytelling with a deeper social commentary. This personal selection below only touches the surface of the many amazing documentaries that can be found on Beamafilm and Kanopy, but I hope it provides a taste of the range and depth on offer.


Herb and Dorothy

Year: 2008
Length: 87 minutes
Director: Megumi Sasaki

Watch the full film here!

I love this film. The gentle story of Herbert Vogel, a postal worker, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who built an important contemporary art collection from their modest and fascinating one bedroom New York apartment is truly beautiful.  Its exploration of what compelled Herb and Dorothy to start collecting Minimalist and Conceptual art, with very modest means, until they had one of the most important modern art collections contained in their one bedroom New York apartment is charming and insightful. A testament to art and Herb and Dorothy’s personalities and relationship, this is a documentary that I highly recommend.

Discover more:

Oxford Art Online: Learn more about Minimalist and Conceptual art with encyclopaedia-style articles on the visual arts, including more than 21,000 biographies of artists and craftsmen, and over 5,000 searchable art images, drawings and maps. Content covers painting, sculpture, graphic arts, architecture, photography and more.


Mountain

Year: 2016
Length: 74 minutes
Director: Jennifer Peedom

Watch the full film here!

Wow! This visually stunning documentary about the lure of mountains for humans is breathtaking. Willem Dafoe has the perfect voice to narrate and the soundtrack is by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and includes works works by Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, and Beethoven. The grandeur of the mountains is matched by the majesty of the music and the story it tells is simple and beautiful. Why we climb and go into the wilderness, and the beauty of our world’s mountains, has never been shown in a more elegant and compelling way.

Discover more:

PressReader and RBdigital: Both PressReader and RBdigital provide online access to hundreds of magazines including many on mountaineering, tramping, photography and more. If you enjoyed Mountain, you will find more to whet your outdoors appetite here.


Straws

Year: 2017
Length: 33 minutes
Director: Linda Booker

Watch the full film here!

Although a short documentary, Straws packs a punch in its informative exploration of plastic pollution in our oceans. By showing how individuals, groups, and businesses around the globe are reducing plastic straw use through education, collaboration, policy development and utilisation of non-plastic alternatives, Straws helps us understand the impact of one plastic product on our environment. This optimistic and engaging documentary shows that small changes can make a difference.

Discover more:

Gale’s GREENR Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources: Learn more about the physical, social, and economic aspects of environmental issues such as plastic pollution. Topics include authoritative analysis, academic journals, news, case studies, legislation, conference proceedings, primary source documents, statistics, and multimedia.


Dancer

Year: 2016
Length: 81 minutes
Director: Steven Cantor

Watch the full film here!

Dancer is a fascinating character study of a virtuoso ballet dancer that demonstrates how wealth and success might not be enough to satisfy our quest for personal and professional identity. At 19, Ukrainian Sergei Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer. However after two years, and at the height of his success, Sergei resolved to stop dancing. Filled with amazing footage of classical and contemporary dance (including his viral performance to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”), this is a beautiful and melancholic exploration of how growing from a child prodigy through to a successful artist does not guarantee happiness.

Discover more:

Naxos Video Library: If you love ballet, then this is for you: watch the world’s greatest opera houses, ballet companies, orchestras and artists perform on demand!


The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Year: 2014
Length: 118 minutes
Director: Mami Sunada

Watch the full film here!

My kids grew up with Studio Ghibli movies and at 19 and 21 they still regularly watch and rewatch the magical films that have come out of the mind of Hayao Miyazaki and his team. The fantastical and beautiful animation of films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle are captivating and gorgeous. This beautiful documentary looks at how Miyazaki and Ghibli became successful and asks what could come next for these talented film makers. Recommended for anyone who has enjoyed a Studio Ghibli movie or loves animation.

Discover more:

Mango Languages: Have you ever wanted to watch and enjoy Studio Ghibli movies in their original Japanese? You can start learning Japanese today with Mango Languages–available through our website and FREE with your library card.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Mark’s Music Doco Picks

I can’t get by without a daily dose of music, so during the lockdown I’ve been using PressReader and RBdigital to keep up with the latest releases. I’ve also been checking out some music documentaries on our online streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy–old favourites I enjoy seeing again, plus some new ones. Below are six fantastic music documentaries from the last few years, including Academy Award-winners and local gems–enjoy!


Searching for Sugar Man

Year: 2012
Length: 86 minutes
Director: Malik Bendjelloul

Click here to watch the full film!

In the late 60s, a musician was discovered in a Detroit bar by two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Academy Awards winner for Best Documentary.

Discover More:

Naxos Jazz Library: Did you know that Rodriguez opened the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2013? Discover more great jazz resources via the Naxos Jazz Library–including over 200,000 tracks.


20 Feet From Stardom

Year: 2013
Length: 91 minutes
Director: Morgan Neville

Watch the full film here!

This great documentary shines the spotlight on the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.

Discover More:

Lynda.com: Did you know that Lynda has courses on how to sing? Start practicing now via our eLibrary.


The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble

Year: 2015
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Morgan Neville

Watch the full film here!

Spanning the globe, this is the celebratory story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The feature-length documentary follows this group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.

Discover More:

Press Reader: Press Reader has a range of great music magazines from around the world, including BBC Music Magazine and more.


Liam Gallagher: As it Was

Year: 2019
Length: 85 minutes
Directors: Gavin Fitzgerald and Charlie Lightening

Watch the full film here!

Liam Gallagher went from the dizzying heights of his champagne supernova years in Oasis to living on the edge, ostracised and lost in the musical wilderness of booze, notoriety and bitter legal battles. Starting again alone, stripped bare and with nowhere to hide, this intimate doco sees Liam risks everything to make the greatest rock’n’roll comeback of all time.

Discover More:

RBdigital: Want to read more about Oasis and Liam Gallagher in Rolling Stone? You can–right here in RBdigital!


Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Year: 2013
Length: 88 minutes
Directors: Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin

Watch the full film here!

On Feb. 21, 2012, members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, donning their colorful trademark balaclavas, or ski masks, participated in a 40-second “punk prayer protest” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral before being detained. Arrested and tried for trespassing, wearing “inappropriate” sleeveless dresses and disrupting social order, Nadia, Masha and Katia were accused of religious hatred in a trial that reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society. An official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit.

Discover More:

Combined search: Wellington City Libraries’ eLibrary has some great articles, videos, audio and biographies on Pussy Riot–have a search right here!


The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps

Year: 2019
Length: 95 minutes
Directors: Julia Parnell and Rob Curry

Watch the full film here!

Martin Phillipps came tantalizingly close to conquering the international musical world with his band The Chills, but instead fell into decades of debt and addiction in his hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. At 54, he’s been given a dire medical prognosis, forcing him to face his demons and realise his musical ambitions before it’s too late.

Discover More:

Wellington Music at WCL: With interviews, reviews, archives and a gig guide, our specialist music page has got your local music needs covered.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Kerry’s Fashion Picks

Looking to escape your living room lockdown by gazing at beautiful dresses and appreciating elegant design? Missing popping out for some lunchtime window shopping?  Dreaming of the opportunity to wear something more classy than trackies?  We have you covered!

Our online resources contain a surprising amount of fashion related content, from movies, to the all important magazines, and a whole resource dedicated to the Vogue archive.  You will never not know what a minaudiere is again.

Beamafilm, our online movie streaming platform, have a whole category dedicated to fashion films aptly titled Fabulous Fashion – so you can binge all of the movies.  Below is a selection of my documentary picks about well-known designers.


Dior and I

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Frédéric Tcheng

Watch the full film here!

Raf Simons is one of the most revered designers of the last few years.  So much so that he will soon be joining Miuccia Prada at the helm of Prada – quite the honor!  This fascinating documentary covers his career at Dior, and in particular, the creation of his first haute couture collection for the house.  It is a real behind the scenes glimpse at both Raf and Dior, extremely chic and surprisingly emotional.  You can read an interview with director Fredereic Tcheng (from Interview magazine) here.


McQueen

Year: 2018
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Ian Bonhote

Watch the full film here!

McQueen follows the meteoric rise of Alexander McQueen as he was discovered and set up his own fashion label.  He was an incredibly inspired designer and the film highlights how innovative and influential he was on the fashion world during the late nineties and oughties.  It’s also a very moving film that looks a the challenges he faced professionally and personally and his eventual decline into depression.  A good watch for some drama. Vogue UK comprehensively covered this documentary, the director’s and McQueen’s legacy: begin your reading here.


Dries

Year: 2017
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Reiner Holzemer

Watch the full film here!

I watched this film recently and it is pure escapism.  Dries van Noten is a very elegant designer who creates beautiful, wearable – and covetable! – clothes.  This documentary looks at his career trajectory and design processes, following the creation of a collection and the corresponding fashion show.  We also see behind the scenes into his life, relationship and mind-blowing house.  Worth it just for the glimpse into his garden – the kind of magical garden we only can only dream of, especially at the moment.  (Here is a video interview with director Reiner Holzemer.)


Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Year: 2018
Length: 80 minutes
Director: Lorna Tucker

Watch the full film here!

Vivienne Westwood is a principled designer and activist whose message is more relevant than ever.  Throughout her career she has always espoused consuming less, protecting the environment and engaging with society.  This documentary takes us into her world, showing us what motivates her work.  It is told mainly in her words, through interviews – somewhat painfully and grouchily drawn out of her.  The movie also illustrates just how ground-breaking and iconic Westwood is in both her designs and lifestyle.  Director Lorna Tucker calls Westwood her hero, read an interview with her here.


Discover More:

Image from ‘The Wanderers’ Vogue, March 2010, v200 n3
For further reading on any of these designers you could try our Vogue Archive online tool.  It offers access to all the content from US Vogue, from 1892 to the present, both images and articles.  You can search for a designer or brand (or any topic or keyword) and it will show you articles, editorials and fashion shoots, and even adverts.  All high-resolution, downloadable, full-page, colour images.  The ability to limit your search results to find exactly what you want is incredibly detailed – you can search for a year, a fabric, an illustration, a type of clothing or style.  The perfect lockdown activity! (Click here for a Youtube tutorial to get you started.)

Who knows what changes will come to the fashion industry and magazine publishing post-Covid-19, so time for some reading now!  The library has a huge range of fashion magazines available, in lots of different languages, through our online magazine platforms – RBdigital and Pressreader.  My pick would be Vogue UK (pictured above and found in RBdigital) which is edited by Edward Enninful, who has created a magazine that addresses the challenges of inclusivity and sustainability.  Also pictured are Vogue India and Vogue Russia which, along with Vogue US and Vogue Australia, can be found in RBdigital.

Did you know that magazines from RBdigital and Pressreader can be read for free, on your computer or in an app on your tablet or phone?  You can download magazine issues to your device to read offline – and keep forever!  – as well as set up alerts that let you know when the latest issues are available.  You can find help getting started with these resources through our eLibrary here.  The RBdigital and Pressreader apps are available to download for free from the Google Play or Apple stores.

 

 

 

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Welcome!

With over 30,000 films available via Wellington City Libraries’ free film streaming services, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you want a movie with drama? Something to scare you? Perhaps you want to be inspired, or distracted, or maybe you just want to be convinced that the mice that have recently overrun your house are really just cute little dust sprites? (Totoro, I’m counting on you!)

Whatever your cinematic needs, Wellington City Libraries has got you covered! Over the next few weeks our librarians will be presenting hand-picked selections of some of their favourite films in a variety of genres. To take part, all you need to do is make sure you’re a Wellington City Libraries member (click here to find out more), then sign up to both Kanopy and Beamafilm.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for associated resources: for example, did you know Lynda.com has a wide variety of courses on how to make films yourself?! Discover more with the #StayAtHome Film Festival, coming soon to a library blog near you!

Selections:

Marilyn’s Picks: Women and Girls Against the Odds

Kerry’s Picks: The Latest Fashion Documentaries

Neil’s Picks: Comedy Greats

Mark’s Picks: Music Documentaries

Louise’s Picks: Documentaries that Resonate

Shinji’s Picks: Films From Around the World

Paul’s Picks: ANZAC Day

Gus’ Picks: Weird and Thrilling Films

Hannah’s Picks: The Best Travel Films Around

Susannah’s Picks: Classic and Contemporary Horror

Louise’s Picks: Māori and Pasifika Movies and Docos