Vale Indigenous Australian Actor David Dalaithngu

Sad news from across the ditch that Indigenous Australian actor, dancer and didgeridoo player David Dalaithngu has lost his battle with lung cancer at age 68.

Warning: This story contains the name and images of a deceased Indigenous person.

Born in  approximately 1953 in Arnhem Land in the far north of Australia,  Mr Dalaithngu was raised in the traditional culture of his Yolgnu people, not encountering white people until he was about 8 or 9.  Most famous around the world for his role in Crocodile Dundee and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Mr Dalaithngu has been a stalwart of the Australian film industry since his film debut at 18 in the 1971 film Walkabout.

You can read more about his life in his biography, Gulpilil by Derek Rielly (eBook).

To mark his passing and celebrate his life, we’ve put together a list of his films available through our collection and/or Beamafilm and Kanopy.


Walkabout – watch on Beamafilm
“Nicolas Roeg’s mystical masterpiece chronicles the physical, spiritual, and emotional journey of a sister and brother abandoned in the harsh Australian outback. Joining an Aboriginal on his walkabout – a tribal initiation into manhood – these modern children pass from innocence into experience as they are thrust from the comforts of civilisation into the savagery of the natural world.” (Description from our Catalogue)
DVD on our catalogue or watch Walkabout on Kanopy

Mad Dog Morgan – watch on Beamafilm
“Set in gold rush-era Victoria, and based on a true story, this violent, rollicking portrayal of infamous Irish outlaw Dan Morgan, a bravura performance from an intense Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now) is a classic of Australia’s ’70s cinema renaissance. A prospector who turns to crime and opium after failing at gold mining, Dan Morgan spends six brutal years in prison before terrorising country Victoria with a young Aboriginal, David Dalaithngu (Walkabout, The Tracker). Having escaped into NSW, the bush ranger and his accomplice easily dodge the police and mercilessly intimidate the wealthy land owners but wracked by madness and a lust to avenge an earlier attack from an irate squatter, the notorious Mad Dog makes a perilous journey back into Victoria.” (adapted from Beamafilm description)
Or, watch Mad Dog Morgan on Kanopy

Storm Boy – watch on Beamafilm (1976)
“Storm Boy lives with his recluse father on South Australia’s lonely and beautiful coast. Here his free spirit roams with his pet pelican Mr. Percival and his secret Aboriginal friend Fingerbone Bill. He knows no other world. Suddenly there are intruders, the local school teacher who wants him to take lessons, a resentful wildlife ranger, duck shooters… Storm Boy, growing up is forced to choose between a life of continued isolation and the challenges of the outside world.” (Description from our catalogue)
DVD on our Catalogue, or watch Storm Boy on Kanopy

The Last Wave – watch on Beamafilm
“Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Peter Weir explores a startling world on the brink of apocalypse in The Last Wave, a time and place where Mother Nature and human nature are destined to collide in catastrophic disaster. When lawyer David Burton is assigned a case to defend a group of indigenous Australian men, he is unprepared for the nightmares and dreamscapes ahead. Accused of murdering one of their own, the men stand trial amidst suspicious circumstances and, as Burton becomes plagued by unsettling visions, he is drawn to the mysterious Chris Lee (AFI Award winner David Dalaithngu, Storm Boy, The Tracker) for answers to his torment. As the erratic climate turns dangerous, Burton senses a greater power at play, where tribal customs and the ancient ideas of Dreamtime may be more than just an ominous warning.” (adapted from Beamafilm description)
DVD on our Catalogue or watch The Last Wave on Kanopy

Crocodile Dundee I [&] II (DVD)
“The adventures of Crocodile hunter Michael J. Dundee, in the wild outback of Australia and the wild streets of New York City.” (Catalogue description)

Rabbit-proof fence (DVD)
“In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.” (Catalogue description)

The proposition (DVD)
“A story of class, race, colonisation and of one family’s violent destiny played out against the searing backdrop of Australia in the 1880s.” (Catalogue description)

Ten canoes (DVD)
“Ten canoes tells the story of the people of the Arafura swamp, in their language, and is set a long time before the coming of the Balanda, as white people were known. Dayindi covets one of the wives of his older brother. To teach him the proper way, he is told a story from the mythical past, a story of wrong love, kidnapping, sorcery, bungling mayhem and revenge gone wrong.” (Catalogue description)
Or watch Ten Canoes on Kanopy

Australia (Blu-ray)
“In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country’s most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.” (Catalogue description)

Charlie’s country (DVD)
“Blackfella Charlie is getting older, and he’s out of sorts. The Government Intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws that don’t generally make much sense, and Charlie’s kin and ken seeming more interested in going along with things than doing anything about it. So Charlie takes off, to live the old way, but in so doing, sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser.” (Catalogue description)

Goldstone (DVD)
“Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.” (Catalogue description)

Cargo (DVD)
“An ecological collapse has seen the human population take to an orbital existence aboard a fleet of intergalactic space stations. Rumour had it that a distant habitable planet exists in the outer realms and CARGO concerns the intense and atmospheric journey one crew embarks on in order to find paradise”–Container.” (Catalogue description)

Storm boy (2018) (DVD)
“A contemporary retelling of Colin Thiele’s classic Australian tale. When Michael Kingley, a successful retired businessman starts to see images from his past that he can’t explain, he’s forced to remember his childhood and how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr Percival.” (Catalogue description)

Gulpilil – One Red Blood, watch on Kanopy
“GULPILIL – ONE RED BLOOD takes us from the world of cinema to Dalaithngu’s homeland and back again. It charts his career from his origins as a strictly tribal man who spoke no English, through his transformation to a jet-setting movie star. The film traces how Dalaithngu’s acting work declined during the 80s and how he was overlooked for over a decade. With his latest roles in Rabbit Proof Fence and The Tracker, Dalaithngu is once again back in the spotlight.” (Description from Kanopy)

Note: In many Indigenous Australian cultural practices, those that have died are not referred to by their name as a mark of respect.  Mr Dalaithngu’s family have requested that he be referred to as David Dalaithngu.  We have left the title of his biographical book and film with the original name so that they can be found in the library collection.

Staff Pick Films – Kanopy & Beamafilm

A selection of Staff Picks movies and documentaries from our website’s DVD pages; these films are all now available on the library’s two online streaming platforms, Beamafilm & Kanopy.

Herb & Dorothy – Beamafilm
You cannot dislike this. Herb is a postal worker, Dorothy is a librarian in New York City and they are art collectors – very serious contemporary art collectors. Who would think that this ordinary (and not cool) looking couple owned more than 4000 pieces of art works mostly minimal or conceptual arts? Amazingly these variable works are somehow stored in their cramped one room apartment where they live with turtles, goldfish and a cat. They have no proper ‘Art’ education, but when this couple face art works, their eyes start glowing and get very serious as if they are hunting dogs. Their collection became so significant it was gifted to the national Gallery of Art (so they are not for money). It is an obsessive passion but utterly charming. Above all, this is the story of this extraordinary couple who complement each other. (Shinji)

The white ribbon – Beamafilm
‘The White Ribbon’ is another subversive jewel in the aloof crown of Michael Haneke, disturbed creator of other choice picks Hidden, The piano teacher and the nicely bleak The seventh Continent. It’s shot beautifully in black and white, the acting is unobtrusively spot-on and the narrative offers gradual hints that build real force and tension. To complete the compellingly grim picture I must list the themes that make one squirm – the destruction of innocence, the abuse of parental power, fascism in its many forms, violence and death. ‘The White Ribbon’ creeps its way into your subconscious and despite your best mental efforts, lingers. Scene by scene, I had the strong sense that I was involved in something significant. You may want to watch this film again. (Monty)

Scott Walker: 30 century man – Beamafilm
I enjoy music docos and have recently found a new stash of them at the end of the CD aisles under ‘Music Biographies’. There are some goodies there, one of which is this excellent film about Scott Walker. The penny finally dropped for me as to why he is considered by so many to be a living legend. His journey from 60’s pop icon, as one of the Walker Brothers, to reclusive avant-garde sound sculptor is explored and held together with excerpts from Walker’s first agreed to interview in thirty years. This is a peek inside the creative mind and it is fascinating to glimpse, amongst other things, the humour that accompanies the creation of such intense songwriting – that is if you happen to agree with Walker that his creations can actually be called songs. (John)

Continue reading “Staff Pick Films – Kanopy & Beamafilm”

Lockdown Distractions: Free Film Streaming

black and white film GIF

Continuing our series of FREE library lockdown distractions, we place a spotlight firmly on two of our most popular and useful Lockdown distractions our film and television streaming services, Kanopy and Beamafilm.

Between them they provide nearly thirty-one thousand films, television programmes, documentaries and even filmed educational lectures.  Within these two totally free services there really is something for absolutely everyone. Just to give you the smallest of overviews we have movies ranging from family-orientated favourites to world cinema classics to action, comedy, drama, New Zealand films, LGBTQIA+ cinema, science fiction, cult and every conceivable genre in between. We have a big collection of specially curated children’s content as well as documentaries on a dazzling array of subjects and an extensive range of educational content. And, as an added bonus, much of the content isn’t available on any other streaming service.

Kanopy has over 30,000 titles from around the world and you can borrow up to six films a month. Beamafilm has over 500 international movies and documentaries, with a strong Australasian focus and features totally unlimited borrowing. Both platforms require an adult membership type to log in. Just to give you the smallest taste of what these two services have to offer, we’ve selected just a few to give you an idea of the variety.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood, directed by Gillian Greenwood, follows the designer at work. Greenwood’s film offers a unique insight into how she creates her distinctive and often shocking designs, and what have been her major influences.


Death Race 2000

In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill’s brutality, in this Roger Corman cult classic.


Dial M for Murder

Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) wants to have his wealthy wife, Margot (Grace Kelly), murdered so he can get his hands on her inheritance. When he discovers her affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her. He blackmails an old acquaintance into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry.


Shin Godzilla

It’s a peaceful day in Japan when a strange fountain of water erupts in the bay, causing panic to spread among government officials. At first, they suspect only volcanic activity, but one young executive dares to wonder if it may be something different; something alive.


The Battle of the Sexes

It was a match made in heaven: she was the darling of American tennis, an outspoken activist against sexism in sport and society; he was the charismatic, fast-talking, hustling chauvinist showman. Yet their unlikely ‘courtship’ in the midst of a social revolution, captured the imaginations of people around the world, helping to empower a generation that changed women’s sport forever.


A Hard Day’s Night

The Fab Four’s famous first foray into film is considered one of the most innovative and refreshing music movies ever made. Celebrating the phenomenon of Beatlemania in 1964 and capturing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in their electrifying element, A Hard Day’s Night is a wildly irreverent journey through one day in the life of arguably the world’s greatest rock’n’roll act.


Memory: The Origins of Alien

In 2019, Ridley Scott’s Alien celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its theatrical release. Memory reveals the chilling, untold origins of Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece Alien, rooted in Greek and Egyptian mythology, underground comics, parasitology, H.P. Lovecraft’s weird fiction, the art of Francis Bacon, and the symbiotic genius of Dan O’Bannon (writer), H.R. Giger (designer), and, of course, Ridley Scott.


BMX Bandits

The wheel-spinning adventures of three teenagers get complicated when they discover a box of stolen walkie-talkies left behind by a gang of bank robbers intended for illegal surveillance. PJ (Angelo D’Angelo, The Big Steal), Goose (James Lugton, Garage Days) and Judy (Nicole Kidman).


Top Cat Begins

Poor, lonely and living on the streets, Top Cat meets Benny, a naïve and good-hearted cat looking for adventure. The pair quickly become best buddies – and partners in crime – pickpocketing their way out of poverty and quickly believing they are the real cats’ whiskers!

#WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest 2020 Part Two- Features

As International Pride Month draws to a close and the weather outside gets a little colder, there’s no better time to snuggle up, sip a warm beverage, and enjoy some excellent queer cinema from around the world.

Your WCL membership provides access to streaming video services, which host a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You can find out more about how to access these online video options on our eLibrary page.

In the first edition of our #WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest, our staff collated some of our favourite documentaries. Now, in part two, we share our picks of the finest fictional features from around the world. Part one, our selection of documentaries , is right here.


BPM (Beats Per Minute)

Year: 2017
Length: 143 Minutes
Directors: Robin Campillo



Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Winner of over 20 international film awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, BPM is the remarkable new film from Robin Campillo (They Came Back, Eastern Boys). In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.-Kanopy


Watermelon Woman

Year: 1996
Length: 86 Minutes
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian. The project is not without drama as Cheryl’s singular focus causes friction between her and her friend Tamara (Valarie Walker) and as she begins to see parallels between Fae’s problematic relationship with a white director and her own budding romance with white Diana (fellow filmmaker Guinevere Turner).-Kanopy


52 Tuesdays

Year:2013
Length: 110 Minutes
Director: Sophie Hyde



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Directed by Sophie Hyde (Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure), the Australian filmmaker who won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, 52 Tuesdays is centered on the relationship between James (Del Herbert-Jane), a mother undergoing gender transition, and their precocious teenage daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). Looking forward to starting their gender transition but wary of how the process might affect their daughter, James asks Billie to move in with her father Tom (played by Beau Travis Williams). To make up for the abrupt separation, mother and daughter make a commitment to meet every Tuesday afternoon, no matter what. As the year progresses, James and Billie watch each other change in ways that sometimes threaten their once-unshakable relationship. As both individuals explore deep personal issues and struggle to remain connected, a complex tale of human desire and ultimately, physical and psychological transformation, emerges.-Beamafilm


Happy Together

Year:1997
Length: 93 Minutes
Director: Kar-Wai Wong



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship. After all, Po-Wing is not ready to settle down. Yiu-Fai now works in a Chinese restaurant and meets the youthful Chang from Taiwan. Yiu-Fai’s life takes on a new spin, while Po-Wing’s life shatters continually in contrast.-Beamafilm


Circumstance

Year:2011
Length: 102 Minutes
Director: Maryam Keshavarz



Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Maryam Keshavarz’s lusty, dreamy take on the passionate teenagers behind the hijabs. Risking jail and worse are the sassy, privileged Atafeh and the beautiful, orphaned Shireen. They’re under constant, unnerving surveillance, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 30. Nevertheless, within their mansion walls and without, beneath graffiti and undulating at intoxicating house parties, the two girls begin to fall in love with each other, as Atafeh’s handsome, albeit creepy older brother Mehran gazes on… Filmed underground in Beirut, with layers that permit both pleasure and protest.-Beamafilm


Geography Club

Year:2013
Length: 80 Minutes
Director: Gary Entin



Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Based on Brent Hartinger’s best-selling critically acclaimed novel, Geography Club is a smart, fast, and funny account of contemporary teenagers as they discover their own sexual identities, dreams, and values. While finding the truth too hard to hide, they all decide to form the Geography Club thinking nobody else would ever want to join. However, their secrets may soon be discovered and they could have to face the choice of revealing who they really are. -Kanopy


We hope you enjoy our selection of fine feature films! Part One, our selection of documentaries , is right here. Stay warm!

#WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest 2020 Part One- Documentaries

A person holding a rainbow flag in front of their body and face.

As International Pride Month draws to a close and the weather outside gets a little colder, there’s no better time to snuggle up, sip a warm beverage, and enjoy some excellent queer cinema from around the world.

Your WCL membership provides access to streaming video services, which host a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You can find out more about how to access these online video options on our eLibrary page.

In this first edition of our #WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest, our staff have collated some of our favourite documentaries. Stay tuned for part two, later this week, when we will share our picks of the finest fictional features from around the world.


Georgie Girl

Year: 2002
Length: 70 Minutes
Directors: Annie Goldson and Peter Wells

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Georgina Beyer is a transgender woman and former sex-worker who was elected to the New Zealand Government by a largely white, rural electorate. Georgie Girl traces Georgina Beyer’s colorful path — her rural past, born as George and raised on a farm, through periods of drug use and sex work, to her election in 1999 into national office under Labour Government headed by Helen Clark. Georgina, who is of Māori descent, has been an inspiration to many, an example of a courageous individual who overcame adversity, marginalization and discrimination.-Kanopy


The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

Year: 1994
Length: 72 Minutes
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema – call it the ‘Dunyementary.’ Presented here are the films that started it all – the early works which gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made with great creativity on often miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre. Films in this collection include Greetings from Africa, The Potluck and the Passion, An Untitled Portrait, Vanilla Sex, She Don’t Fade, and Janine.-Kanopy


I Am Not Your Negro

Year:2016
Length: 93 Minutes
Director: Raoul Peck

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm.

Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck (The Man by the Shore, Moloch Tropical, Murder in Pacot), returns with a transcendent documentary examining the life and work of literary iconoclast and queer icon James Baldwin. The Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” is based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House”, a stirring, personal account of the lives and deaths of his friends and US Civil Rights Movement leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Through these accounts, Baldwin’s considered yet razor-sharp activism bears witness to the impact and legacy of race in America, which forms the focus of Peck’s cinematic dissection of the enduring effects of social and racial inequality.-Beamafilm


Tales of the Waria

Year:2011
Length: 57 Minutes
Director: Kathy Huang

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. It is also home to the “warias,” a community of biological men who live openly as women. In this eye-opening documentary, four warias search for romance and intimacy. They encounter a host of obstacles– family pressures, economic burdens, aging– but strive to stay true to themselves and to find lasting companionship. Shot over three years with the local queer community serving as story consultants and film crew members, the film provides an unprecedented look into topics rarely discussed in Western media: Indonesia, Islamic culture, and the daily life and struggles of transgender communities around the world.-Kanopy


Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw

Year:2015
Length: 58 Minutes
Director: Rick Goldsmith

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.

Mind/Game’s portrait of “the female Michael Jordan,” from troubled family life to basketball superstardom, reveals a long-hidden battle with mental illness. But even as Holdsclaw begins to embrace her emotional challenges and emerge as an outspoken mental health advocate, she encounters new obstacles to her own recovery. Narrated by Glenn Close.-Kanopy


Kumu Hina

Year:2014
Length: 77 Minutes
Director: Dean Hamer

Watch the full film here on Kanopy.
Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina’s Hawai’i. During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? An incredible docu-drama that unfolds like a narrative film, Kumu Hina reveals a side of Hawai’i rarely seen on screen. -Kanopy


Stay tuned for our selection of fictional features, coming later this week. Stay warm!

Black Lives Matter: Fiction & Film Resources

Omaha, Nebraska, 1915. A young postal worker named George Johnson quits his job to found the Lincoln Motion Picture Company with his brother Noble. Just over a year later the brothers have moved to L.A., where they go on to make six films before winding down in 1923. Today, the Lincoln Motion Picture Company is recognised as not only America’s first all-black movie production unit, but the first to “showcase African-American talent in the full sphere of cinema.

Two years after the closure of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, another series of stories exploring the black experience in America is being assembled, this time in print. They emerge not from the Midwest but New York, in the pages of The New Negro: An Interpretation, under the editorship of Howard University professor Alain Locke. The New Negro will go on to become the key text of the Harlem Renaissance.

Film and fiction have been two particularly powerful mediums for exploring the black experience in America since the work of the Johnson brothers over one hundred years ago. Below you’ll find a selection of contemporary films and novels that continue this exploration, including the award-winning works of Spike Lee, the genre-expanding novels of N.K. Jemisin and the experimental movie-making of Cheryl Dunye. For equally powerful non-fiction examples, visit our Black Lives Matter: Non-Fiction Resources blog.


FICTION

Sing, unburied, sing : a novel / Ward, Jesmyn
“Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But fellow inmate Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“Alix is a woman who gets what she wants. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler in their local supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping. Alix resolves to make things right, but both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about each other.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fifth season / Jemisin, N. K
“This is the way the world ends…for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Red at the bone / Woodson, Jacqueline
Red at the Bone opens with Melody celebrating her 16th birthday at her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Melody’s mother never did get her own 16th birthday party, and therein lies a tale of two families separated by class, ambition, gentrification, sexual desire, and unexpected parenthood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 


FILMS

The Watermelon Woman
Year: 1996
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here.

“Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian.” (Kanopy)

Fig
Year: 2010
Director: Ryan Coogler

Watch the full film here.

“Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Black Panther), Fig is a this sympathetic look at the life of a working class mother, a prostitute named Candice wants nothing more than to provide a good life for her daughter Kyla. One night that she is unable to find a babysitter for Kyla, Candice takes her to the corner where she picks up johns and leaves her in the car. When Candice is with a john, Kyla is found alone by the police and is taken into emergency foster care. When she finds out, Candice does everything in her power to convince the social worker in charge of Kyla’s case that she really does love her daughter very much.” (Kanopy)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
Year: 2014
Director: Spike Lee

Watch the full film here.

“Spike Lee’s stylized thriller Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a new kind of love story. Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He, however, is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status in our seemingly sophisticated society.” (Kanopy)

StayAtHome Film Festival: Neil’s Comedy Picks

“There’s only one sure thing in this life, Blondini, and that’s doubt. I think.” — Bruno Lawrence in Goodbye Pork Pie

One of the best things you can do during tough times is to sit down and lose yourself in a great comedy film. In my view watching comedy films is good for you, and our free library movie streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy have some absolute comic gold. I’ve picked just a few of my favourites and tried my best to make the selection as broad as possible to suit every taste and tickle a wide variety of different funny bones.

The choices range from from Howard Hawks’ sassy, wise-cracking masterpiece His Girl Friday to Juzo Itami’s off beat but fabulous “ramen western” Tampopo–not to mention the opportunity to watch Geoff Murphy’s seminal Kiwi comedy classic Goodbye Pork Pie. I hope you enjoy my picks and are inspired to explore our extensive movie catalogue further. Enjoy!


Tampopo

Year: 1985
Length: 116 minutes
Director: Juzo Itami

Click here to watch the full film!

Juzo Itami’s “ramen western” is a totally unique, wryly funny Japanese comedy revolving round food and relationships. It will simultaneously make you laugh and your mouth water and perhaps even tempt you into the kitchen. It is often described as the best movie about food ever! The plot is simple: a pair of truck drivers befriend the widowed owner of a noodle restaurant, and the narrative is interwoven with other stories about food on various levels. This delicious comedy is sweet, surreal and unlike any other.

Discover More:

Overdrive: Hungry after watching Tampopo? Check out the great selection of cookbooks available on Overdrive.

Borrowbox: Borrowbox also has cookbooks available as eBooks–especially Australian titles. Enjoy!


Mon Oncle

Year: 1958
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Jacques Tati

Click here to watch the full film!

Another truly unique comic masterpiece, this time about the central character’s struggle to understand the French fascination with modern architecture and the modern world. This multi-award-winning film features the recurring Tati character of Mr Hulot: in this particular film he is a slightly lost soul bemused by the vagrancies of the modern world. Tati elevates sight comedy to unexpected and unpredictable heights–to, as some people have commented, almost philosophical levels. It also sports a huge supporting cast of dogs which Tati found in the local dog pound. After the film ended, he had become so attached to the dogs he refused to return them there, instead finding homes for them by advertising in a local newspaper: “good homes required for film stars”. This side-story reflects well the film’s quirky, warm-hearted and synchronous nature.

Discover More:

RBdigital: Monsieur Hulot may have struggled with modern architecture, but you don’t have to! Browse contemporary architecture and design magazines (including Architectural Digest and Interior) via RBdigital.

Mango Languages: Did you know that two versions of Mon Oncle were filmed at the same time–one with the dialogue in French, the other in English! (They also swapped out the street signs in the background.) Understand both versions with the help of Mango Languages.


The General

Year: 1926
Length: 75 minutes
Director: Buster Keaton

Click here to watch the full film!

This classic silent movie from the birth of cinema is often cited as one of the best movies ever made. Buster Keaton–“the comic who never smiles”–stars as a locomotive driver during the America Civil War. It’s a physical comedy, but a strong case could be made that this film is in fact the birth of the action movie. The startling, breath-taking, real-life stunts and action-driven plot insures that it rattles along at a breakneck pace, adding strength to such a claim.

Discover More:

Proquest Research Library: Did you know that in the real-life events that inspired The General, it’s the Union army rather than the Confederates that conduct the raid? Learn more at the Proquest Research Library.

Gale in Context: Biography: Roger Ebert has called Buster Keaton “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies”, but how exactly did he get the name Buster? Find out at Gale in Context: Biography!


His Girl Friday

Year: 1940
Length: 92 minutes
Director: Howard Hawks

Watch the full film here!

His Girl Friday is a masterclass in wise-cracking, sassy, super-fast, ultra-sharp comic dialogue. Made during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the virtuosic comic performances from leads Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell combine with the fabulously taut script to make this screwball comedy funny to this day. The overlapping jokes, dialogue and comic moments come so thick and fast you really need to watch it twice to pick up on everything that’s going on.

Discover More:

DigitalNZ: Before he appeared onscreen, Carey Grant worked in vaudeville–but have you ever wondered about vaudeville in New Zealand? Check out DigitalNZ to see some fantastic local vaudeville posters, reviews and more.

Haynes Manuals AllAccess: Did you know that one of Carey Grant’s first cars was a 1927 Packard Sport Phaeton? He probably didn’t do his own repairs, but if he did he could have used our Haynes Manuals AllAccess database!


Goodbye Pork Pie

Year: 1980
Length: 105 minutes
Director: Geoff Murphy

Watch the full film here!

Even if this seminal Kiwi classic comedy has dated somewhat, it is still an essential watch for anyone interested in NZ film. Shot in 1979 on a tiny budget, the film is a time capsule of certain aspects of NZ life in the early 1980s. The film’s comedy is energetic, frenetic, frantic, sarcastic and very Kiwi. The film’s fast-moving plot involves two loser heroes who race across the New Zealand landscape in a yellow mini, getting into all sorts of scrapes and escapades along the way.

Discover More:

Naxos Jazz Library: As well as being a director, Geoff Murphy was also known for playing a mean jazz trumpet. Listen to streaming audio of classic jazz via our fantastic jazz database!

BWB Books Treaty of Waitangi Collection: Geoff Murphy’s third film, Utu, is partly based on the life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Read more about Te Kooti in Judith Binney’s Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, available now via our BWB books collection.


Frances Ha

Year: 2012
Length: 86 minutes
Director: Noah Baumbach

Watch the full film here!

Steeped in the vibe that is New York in the early part of the 21st century, this is a tale of New York youngsters, their lives, loves and relationships as seen through the eyes of a struggling dancer. Greta Gerwig’s portrayal of the endearing, loopy, slightly maddening and very endearing central character Frances Ha steals the show. It is a touching, fresh, gentle and friendly observational comedy that uses New York as a kind of side character and is a really enjoyable way to spend a night, afternoon or morning in.

Discover More:

Naxos Video Library: Did you know that the Naxos Video Library contains live recordings of a range of dance productions? (As well as theatre, opera, jazz and more!)

Combined search: Frances Ha has been described as “mumblecore”–but what exactly is this genre? Search across our eResources to find a range of explanations.

Introducing the Kanopy Film Festival!

Welcome to Wellington City Libraries’ Kanopy Film Festival! If you haven’t come across it yet, Kanopy is our recently-launched film streaming platform, with a fantastic range of free-to-borrow films to suit every taste and member of the family–it even has its own kids section! To get started with Kanopy, check out our handy guide, or click here to jump straight in!

To celebrate Kanopy’s launch, and highlight its range and diversity, we’re running our first ever free film festival in libraries throughout Wellington! We’ve handpicked the movies, including modern Kiwi classics such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, vintage Hollywood golden oldies like Charade and family favourites and award-winning animations such as A Cat in Paris. Full details of the screenings are below, and in the weeks leading up to the festival we’ll be running featurettes on individual titles. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Full Programme:


Kilbirnie: Thursday, 14 November

This Beautiful Fantastic (92 Minutes) Comedy
Time: 6pm-7.30pm
A young woman who dreams of being a children’s author makes an unlikely friendship with a cantankerous, rich old widower.


Newtown: Friday, 15 November

Jasper Jones (103 minutes) Family
Time: 6pm-7.45pm
Jasper Jones is a coming of age story about Charlie Bucktin, a bookish boy of 14.


Tawa: Thursday, 21 November

A Cat in Paris (62 Minutes) Family
Time: 5.30pm-6.30pm
A family-oriented animated movie about a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar’s aide.


Johnsonville: Friday, 22 November

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (102 Minutes) NZ
Time: 5.30pm-7.30pm
In this unmissable modern Kiwi classic a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.


Karori: Thursday, 28 November

Paper Planes (93 Minutes) Family
Time: 6pm-7.30pm
An imaginative children’s film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan.


Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: Friday, 29 November

Tracks (112 minutes) Biographical
Time: 10.30am–12.30pm
The tale of a young woman’s treks across the deserts of West Australia with four camels.


Wadestown: Thursday, 5 December

Charade (1h 53min) Classic
Time: 5.45pm-7.45pm
Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau star in this classic Hollywood romantic spy thriller.