World Cinema Showcase

The World Cinema Showcase is on now at the  Paramount Theatre until the 30th of April.  To supplement your viewing experience, here are some links to items in Wellington City Libraries’ collections relating to five of the films being showcased:

Freakonomics, described by Variety magazine as “A revelatory trip into complex, innovative ideas and altered perspectives on how people think”,  is based on the 2005 bestselling book of the same title by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (subtitled “a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything”), which incidentally had a follow-up in 2009 entitled Superfreakonomics: global cooling, patriotic prostitutes, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance. If these strike a cord with you then visit the Freakonomics website for more, including their blog on, well, just about everything.

Waiting for Superman is a documentary (not a Lois Lane biopic sadly) which looks at the failures of the American public education system. Several keen students are hopeful of getting a place in the Harlem Success Academy, a charter school for the poorest children in the area. Entry is determined by lottery – if they cannot get in they will have little chance of furthering their education elsewhere. This doco has been very successful and has earned a lot of praise. It also has its critics, who claim that it is inaccurate. Anyway, it is by Davis Guggenheim, who also made An Inconvenient Truth (conveniently in the library), and a surprising number of TV dramas (including Deadwood, also in the library).

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him?). In fact, Harry Nilsson (1941 to 1994) was a singer and songwriter who wrote such varied hits as ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ (remember this from The Fabulous Baker Boys with Michelle Pfeiffer and the Bridges?), ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, and ‘You Put the Lime in the Coconut’ among many others. At the risk of becoming far too trivial, he also composed the music for the 1980 film Popeye starring Robin Williams (again, conveniently in the library).

Continuing the popular music theme, Lemmy is a biopic about Lemmy Kilmister, the frontman for Motörhead (and previously the bassist for epic space rock hair band, Hawkwind). Lemmy is 65, and has led a life of rockstar excess for decades. This rockumentary is three years of the full Lemmy experience, both on-stage and off-. There are interviews with loads of his fans, including Dave Grohl, Dee Snider, Metallica, Joan Jett, and even Jarvis Cocker (all of whom are, of course, in the library).

Reign of Assassins is a bit like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (remember how cool that was the first time) in that it is set in Ye Olde time China, stars Michelle Yeoh and has epic martial arts. A married couple are each unaware that their spouse is a highly-skilled assassin. Not only that, but they are mortal enemies! In addition to the Mr & Mrs Smith twist there is also a little Romeo & Juliet thing happening. Romeo Smith & Juliet Smith? Maybe not. Anyway, watch it for the fights!