#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.

Small books on big topics – check out the BWB Texts Collection

The BWB Texts Collection is one of the hidden gems in our online collections line-up that we LOVE and think more of you should know about.

Why? Well in a nutshell the collection brings together a diverse group of short and accessible eBooks on some of the biggest and most important issues facing New Zealand. Some of the topics covered include: the housing crisis, climate change, public health, child poverty and inequality. Dive in to discover stories, insights and analysis by some of New Zealand’s best writers and commentators.

The BWB Texts Collection is also easy to access and use. All you need is your Wellington City Libraries card and a device to read on — PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Ebooks have unlimited simultaneous users and are read in your web browser so there is no waiting or downloading – simply click on any title and read!

Some just released titles that you might like to check out are:

Imagining Decolonisation – contributors include: Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas
“Decolonisation is a term that alarms some, and gives hope to others. It is an uncomfortable and often bewildering concept for many New Zealanders. This new BWB Text seeks to demystify decolonisation using illuminating, real-life examples. By exploring the impact of colonisation on Māori and non-Māori alike, Imagining Decolonisation presents a transformative vision of a country that is fairer for all.” (from title description page)

The Climate Dispossessed: Justice for the Pacific in Aotearoa? – by Teall Crossen
“The world is heating up beyond the capacity of some countries to cope. Entire populations of Pacific islands are threatened, jeopardising the sovereign rights of these countries and the security of the region. This book explores what a just response to the risk of climate change displacement in the Pacific could look like.” (from title description page)

Transforming the Welfare State: Towards a New Social Contract – by Jonathan Boston
“Eighty years ago, New Zealand’s welfare state was envied by many social reformers around the world. Today it stands in need of urgent repair and renewal. One of our leading public policy thinkers asks: What might the contours of a revitalised ‘social contract’ for New Zealand look like?” (from title description page)

The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World – by Mel Bunce
“A lack of knowledge about the world can be a very dangerous thing…Drawing upon the latest international research, Bunce provides a fresh analysis that goes beyond the usual anecdote and conjecture. Insightful and impassioned, this short book provides a much-needed assessment of the future for New Zealand journalism in a troubled world on issues of justice, tikanga, trade-offs, finance, futurism, adaptation, and more.” (from title description page)

Rebuilding the Kāinga: Lessons from Te Ao Hurihuri – by Jade Kake
Rebuilding the Kāinga charts the recent resurgence of contemporary papakāinga on whenua Māori. Reframing Māori housing as a Treaty issue, Kake envisions a future where Māori are supported to build businesses and affordable homes on whānau, hapū or Treaty settlement lands. The implications of this approach, Kake writes, are transformative.” (from title description page)

#No Fly: Walking the Talk on Climate Change – by Shaun Hendy
“What happens when a leading New Zealand scientist (and frequent traveller) rules out flying for a year? From overnight buses to epic train journeys, Shaun Hendy’s experiences speak to our desire to do something – anything – in the face of growing climate anxiety. #NoFly confronts the hard questions of one person’s attempt ‘to adapt’. Was this initiative merely symbolic? Did it compromise his work, his life? And has it left him feeling more optimistic that we can, indeed, reach a low-emissions future?” (from title description page)

#StayAtHomeFest: Aotearoa Road Trip–Day One!

We’ve all seen them: photos of deserted highways stretching through the country, not a car or truck in sight. While this emptiness is a testament to the great work being done to stop COVID-19, it can be hard not to imagine a time when you can once again venture out and re-discover the rest of the country.

But now there’s no need to wait! Thanks to the magic of our eLibrary you can join us on a road trip across Aotearoa, from classic sites on State Highway One to secret spots known only to the wisest, most road-wily librarians. So grab your road atlas, double-check your internet connection and prepare for an epic (virtual) road trip. Read on to begin!


Day One: Pōneke/Wellington to Taupō

Pōneke/Wellington

Population: 202,737
Weather: Probably windy

It may be the first day of your road trip north, but you can’t help having a quick look around the capital. So fire up your new electric car (click here for charging stations), grab your thermette and see what you can find!

Digital Attractions:

Glamorous Histories: Did you know that the site of Wellington’s Central Library was once home to Carmen Rupe’s Balcony strip club–and the legendary Red Mole theatre troupe? Discover more via Wellington City Recollect.

A City of Film: Wellington was chosen as a UNESCO City of Film in 2019, but it’s not just blockbusters that give the city it’s cinematic reputation. The 2013 documentary Gardening With Soul won Best Documentary at the New Zealand Film Awards and is set in Island Bay–watch it now via Beamafilm.


Kapiti Coast (State Highway 1)

Okay, now it’s really time to go. Luckily the traffic out of Wellington isn’t too bad, and you get a smooth run past Pukerua Bay and all the way up the Kapiti Coast–nice one! Your first destination is Whanganui, but there’s plenty to see before then!

Digital Attractions:

Range on the Right: The Tararua Range may look like an impenetrable wall of mountains and bush, but don’t be fooled–up to 150,000 people a year explore its slopes! For more info check out Wilderness, New Zealand’s most popular tramping magazine–and available at RBdigital.

Desirable Island: While adverts promoting Kapiti Island highlight its role as a bird sanctuary, the island has another, more strategic history–discover it via the Roadside Stories audio guides, accessible through Digital NZ and our eLibrary.


Whanganui

Population: 45,309
Weather: Not so windy

Well done, you’ve reached the first stop on your trip. Time for a quick coffee and a snack somewhere–raspberry and lime Fruju, anyone? You park by the river and watch it slide by. What’s waiting for you upstream?

Digital Attractions:

Te Awa Tupua: The Whanganui River has its own legal identity, with all the rights, duties and liabilities of a person! Learn more via NZ Geographic (or explore He Whiritaunoka through the Waitangi Tribunal).

Moturoa: Did you know that in 1868 there were rumours of abandoning Whanganui after Riwha Titokowaru’s victory at the Battle of Moturoa? Find out more in James Belich’s I Shall Not Die–described as “a riveting piece of historical writing.”


Forgotten World Highway (State Highway 43)

You continue on around the coast, stopping for a Fanta and a bag of Fruit Bursts in Stratford before turning onto State Highway 43–aka the Forgotten World Highway. It doesn’t take long for things to get a bit bumpy, and the Fanta suddenly seems like a mistake. But never fear, Taupō isn’t far off!

Digital Attractions:

Turning Green: If you’re feeling a bit car sick by now, distractions can help. And luckily BorrowBox has a range of fantastic audiobooks to help you out–including great local content!

Breakaways: 1989 was a tough year for a lot of New Zealand, not least the people of Whangamomona. So what did they do? Formed their own republic, of course! Past presidents have included Sir Murt Kennard and Billy Gumboot the Goat. Learn more about Billy’s reign thanks to the library’s combined search.


Taupō

Population: 23,900
Weather: Not so cold that you can’t swim

You made it to Taumarunui without being sick–an achievement! You celebrate with a suitably greasy lunch, then continue on to your destination of Taupō. Just enough time for a swim before dinner–congratulations!

Digital Attractions:

Beauty and Fear: Whether you want to experience terror or awe while you’re in nature, Taupō has you covered. If you just want to read about terror or awe, then Pressreader has you sorted, too–with NZ Adventure Magazine.

New Boots: Have you read New Boots in New Zealand yet? It tells the story of Gillian Orrell’s quest to walk all of New Zealand’s Great Walks–including the Tongariro Northern Circuit! Have a read of it via Overdrive.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: ANZAC DAY

How do you mark ANZAC Day in a time of social distancing? It’s a question that had to be tackled during the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic, with marches postponed and commemorations held privately at gravesides. The approach this year will be different again. Virtual dawn services are being held across the country; cut-out poppies will adorn windows; the Royal New Zealand Ballet will give a special performance of Dear Horizon.

Another way you can mark the day is with resources such as books and films–including the documentaries below. Works include Leanne Pooley’s 25 April, the excellent Paris 1919 which looks at events at the end of WWI and the recent documentary Almost Sunrise, examining PTSD in returned soldiers. There are other great sources of information as well, including NZ History, and footage such as Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old and the 100 year commemoration of the return of members of the Māori Pioneer Battalion to Tairawhiti.


25 April

Year: 2015
Length: 85 minutes
Director: Leanne Pooley

Watch the full film here!

25 April is an innovative feature documentary created to bring the story of the New Zealand experience at Gallipoli (Turkey) to life for a modern audience through a re-imagined world. Using graphic novel-like animation, 25 April brings First World War experiences out of the usual black-and-white archive pictures and into vibrant, dynamic color. Weaving together animated ‘interviews’ based on the diaries, letters and memoirs of six people who were actually there, the film tells the compelling and heart-wrenching tale of war, friendship, loss and redemption using the words of those who experienced it.”


The Colour of War: The Anzacs

Year: 2004
Length: 135 minutes
Features: Russell Crowe

Watch the full film here!

“This is the story of Australia and New Zealand at war as never seen before. For the first time, only original colour footage is used to paint a vividly detailed picture of these closely allied nations, from the build up to World War Two to the end of the Vietnam conflict.”


Paris 1919: Negotiating Peace After WWI

Year: 2009
Length: 95 minutes
Director: Paul Cowan

Click here to watch the full film!

“For six months in 1919, Paris was the capital of the world. The last shots had just been fired in the most devastating war of all time – and the old global order lay in tatters. Delegations from over 30 nations urgently descended upon Paris for the most ambitious peace talks in history. Paris 1919 takes us inside this singular event with a vivid sense of character and narrative.”


Almost Sunrise: Two Iraq Veterans Confront their PTSD on a Cross-Country Journey

Year: 2016
Length: 98 minutes
Director: Michael Collins

Click here to watch the full film!

“This moving documentary follows two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, both tormented by depression for years after they returned home and pushed to the edge of suicide. The two embark on an extraordinary journey – a 2,700 mile walk across the country from Wisconsin to California, in order to reflect on their haunting experiences of war and to ultimately, save themselves.”


The Ottoman Empire: WWI (Lecture Series)

Year: 2017
Length: 31 minutes
Features: Kenneth W. Harl

Watch the full lecture here!

“Though it entered the First World War enthusiastically, the Ottoman Empire was not prepared for total war. In this lecture, focus on the empire’s offensives against the Russian Caucasus Army and the Suez Canal, as well as its struggle against an impending British invasion in the Dardanelles.”

#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.

Communicating in a crisis

Even experienced Managers may be feeling challenged during this current crisis. I hope the following Lynda.com video courses prove helpful.

Advice for leaders during a crisis. In this video just uploaded on April 10, leading experts in crisis, leadership, and finance provide you with important methods to keep you and your team focused, inspired, and aligned during this unique time.

Crisis Communication In this 1hr course, Laura Bergells will talk you through how to communicate with key audiences in this crisis which impacts your business or brand.

Managing in difficult times What do leaders do to manage effectively in difficult times? It’s as much about what they do to prepare as it is about how they react.

Marketing during a crisis Learn how to reposition your brand during a crisis, take immediate actgion, re-evaluate the landscape, and understand the new consumer mindset.

#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.

Be productive during the lockdown

Need help staying focused and productive while in lockdown? I think we all do. Here are some really good strategies from the Lynda.com tutors.

Productivity Tips: Setting Up Your Workplace with Dave Crenshaw
This shortish 40 minute video gives you quick tips for cultivating a workspace that makes it easier to stay focused, motivated, and productive. (It’s had over 2,500 views since it was loaded at the beginning of February)

Mixtape: Learning Highlights for Better Productivity with LinkedIn Learning Instructors This is a curated collection of insights from top LinkedIn courses on productivity. If you are particularly interested in any one of the courses, check out the full version of each course.

 

Productivity tips: finding your productive mindset – Dave Crenshaw
This hour length video has had over 8,000 views since it was released in January this year.
Dave Crenshaw shares bite-sized actionable tips for finding time in your routine to improve productivity and flexibility. Learn how to shake off negativity and add meaning to your workday.

Time Management: Working from Home with Dave Crenshaw
Another very useful and apt course which gives time management tips to stay productive and balanced when working from home part-time or full-time.

5 Ways to Control Your Time with Chris Croft
Find more time for what’s most important. Learn the 5 key time management strategies (from saying “no” to overcoming perfectionism) to reduce distractions and stay focused…

Storytime, now direct to your bubble!

Are your kids missing their Library storytime visits? Well, good news! You and your bubble can now enjoy storytime anytime at home with Storybox Library. Storybox Library features over 300 stories read aloud by a fantastically diverse range Australian and New Zealand storytellers. All you need is your Wellington City Libraries card and a device to watch on — PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

To get you started, here are some stories my bubble have enjoyed this week:

I Just Ate My Friend – written and illustrated by Heidi McKinnon and read by Tim Rogers
This story about a quirky wee monster looking for a friend will have the little ones laughing out loud, especially at the surprise ending! Performed with superb comic timing by musician Tim Rogers.

That’s Not The Monster We Orderedwritten by Richard Fairgray, illustrated by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones and read by Richard Fairgray
What happens when the family next door gets an awesome monster!? Well everyone else wants one as well of course! But what if the monster you order isn’t necessarily the monster you get… Super funny and with a unique and ever so slightly offbeat illustrative style, this was a real winner in our house.

The Terrible Plop – written and read by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner
This is an old favourite. All about a brave little rabbit, a grumpy bear and a mysterious Terrible Plop!


I Am Jellyfish – written and illustrated by Ruth Paul, read by Akina Edmonds
A glittery undersea story about a kind jellyfish who cleverly gets the better of a knife-nosed swordfish who is keen to have her for his dinner! Gorgeous illustrations and lyrical text make this a perfect choice to wind down before bed.


Pig the Pug – written, illustrated and read by Aaron Blabey
Pig is an outrageously selfish pug dog who decidedly does not want to share his toys with Trevor the dashshund. Something unexpected happens but will Pig learn his lesson? 

Room On Our Rock – written by Kate Temple and Jol Temple, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton and read by Jay Laga’aia
A clever story about a seal-and-pup looking for a place of safety in an uncertain world. Reading front to back and then back to front gives two different thought provoking narratives.

Bear Make Den – written by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner, illustrated by Andrew Joyner and read by Anne Edmonds
Bear is very industrious and wants to make the perfect den, but finds something is missing. What could it be? A simple, heartwarming story read with a great sense of playfulness by comedian Anne Edmonds.

The Patchwork Bike – written by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van T Rudd and read by Zahra Newman
A resourceful young boy and his brothers show that you don’t need a lot of possessions to have fun. Using everyday items and a creative spirit the brothers work to build the most amazing patchwork bike around.

AND after you’ve enjoyed the story, don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of each story page to discover a related at home activity!