Staff Recommendation: Princess Mononoke

Released in 1999 and holding a 94% audience approval rating, this Miyazaki film was hailed as “The ‘Star Wars’ of animated features!” by the New York Post. Princess Mononoke brings together the world of the spiritual and the realities of man. Similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, and Miyazaki’s later movie Spirited Away, this film exists in a world where fantasy and reality push against each other as humans seek to destroy the old ways to make way for new.

At the center of the story is a young man named Ashitaka, who makes his way to a mining village after being cursed by a dying animal god.  There he meets Lady Eboshi, whose desire to acquire more iron for the village has put her in direct conflict with the nature gods that inhabit the land nearby who are lead by Princess Mononoke, a human girl raised by the wolf god. As his curse spreads, Ashitaka seeks to find a balance between these two opposing forces before both are destroyed by their own short sightedness.

This incredible film asks the questions; ‘Can Man and Nature coexist?’ ‘Is it possible to stand in the middle of conflict, or must we choose sides?’ ‘Who is really the villain?’ ‘Is there a place for those who are different?’With beautiful animation and subtle storytelling, Hayao Miyazaki asks us to come to our own conclusions through the actions of Ashitaka, Lady Eboshi and Princess Mononoke.

You can find this DVD at the Greenfield Library, stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # GD1475

~ Recommended by Lauralee Martin, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Fahrenheit 451

As a librarian and an avid fan of reading in general, I’ve read a lot of books. Well, I’ve read a lot, but there certainly are many books that I still haven’t read yet. Fahrenheit 451, a classic (and often banned) modern novel is one of those books that had me saying to myself, “Why have I never read this?!” Especially since this is a true book lover’s book.

But it’s also more than just that. As Neil Gaiman says in the wonderful introduction to this 60th anniversary edition, “This is a book about caring for things. It’s a love letter to books, but I think, just as much, it’s a love letter to people….” Since I think this book is so magical, I won’t spoil the plot. What I want to focus on is this book’s important message, gloriously amplified by Ray Bradbury’s lyrical descriptions (trust me, he makes describing moonlight sound heavenly).

What I loved so much about Fahrenheit 451 is its striking relevance to our world today, which can often be said for these types of dystopian sci-fi novels. Even though I found myself nodding along to Bradbury’s finger-pointing at the horrible aspects of modern society (which are eerily similar to the world of 2018), I also felt reassured to hear a voice who feels the same way I do. Books matter. Stories matter. People matter. Quiet thought and compassion matters. In a world that seems too loud and insane and imploding in on itself at times, it was refreshing to read the words of an author calling out into the void, saying, “Slow down. Look around you. Care more. Read a book.”

You can check out Fahrenheit 451 from the Greenfield Library at call# PS3503 .R167 F3 2013. This special edition of the book also includes historical context essays and reviews for some in-depth reading.

There is also an audio guide available from Greenfield CDs (GCD409), featuring a radio program and Bradbury discussing his work. We also have the 1966 film available behind the Greenfield circulation desk, just ask for call# GD23Coincidentally, HBO will be premiering a new movie version of Fahrenheit 451, to be released Spring of this year. You can watch the teaser trailer here.

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist at the Greenfield Library

Staff Recommendation: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

 

Philip K. Dick can be regarded as one of the prominent science fiction authors of the 20th century, with many of his works posthumously inspiring film and television adaptations, such as Total Recall, Terminator, The Man in the High Castle, and Minority Report. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of these works, establishing the world of Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking film Blade Runner and its recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Like the 1982 movie, Do Androids focuses on Rick Deckhard’s search for rogue Nexus-6 androids in a futuristic, yet very bleak, California. If you are familiar with the classic Harrison Ford feature, this novel might not be what you are expecting, but it delights nonetheless. Characters like Pris, Rachael, and Roy will be recognizable to those who have seen the 1982 movie, as well as other entities that parallel elements in both films. While the films touch on themes of empathy and “What does it mean to be human?” Dick expands upon these in more detail, taking a very philosophical approach with his writing, almost along the lines of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. If you are looking for a challenging read that will make you puzzle and ponder the meanings of life, yet in the setting of a post-nuclear war America, this is for you.

Available now in the Greenfield Library open stacks at call #: PS3554 .I3 D6 2017 In addition to this great read, the director’s cut of the Blade Runner film can be found behind the Greenfield Library circulation desk, just ask for call #: GD9 !

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist at the Greenfield Library

Studio Art MFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Nelly Massera

Media artist Nelly Massera will speak Thursday, July 5, at 7pm in Terra Hall, Connelly Lecture Hall. Massera lives and works in France. She has exhibited internationally, participating in numerous residencies and solo exhibitions. Below are details about two of her films. Check out her website for more.

video still from Made in China
video still from Made in China

The Shout (2009)

“The Shout is a split screen video, a sound and visual diptych. Territories appear and follow one another, empty on one side, each occupied by a person on the other. Doubled images, long panoramic pictures, echoing narration. They are waiting, looking at us. Interior/day, prison scene: suddenly, a shout starts, carrying all the others along, the one of the children in the ruined building, the one of the woman in the bunker… The territory, the person and the shout are mutually embodied, occupying the entire screen and sound space. This split screen video has been realized in Latvia on the territory of Karosta, during an artist residency. This territory, at the same time fascinating and oppressive made to emerge this project, these presences, these shouts. I asked to people to choose a place, as a territory to shout.”

Starry Night (2010)

“A totally dark space of projection.The gaze has to get used to the twilight. The shot is taken at night, a space of basic architecture, covered by a faint light, barely unveils. The all-present sound of a cyclic flowing water fills the space. The sky thunders, the rain falls and mixes with the fountain’s sound. A violent, pale, almost unreal light flashes the scene and reveals it furtively to the viewer; then comes the sound of the lightning that splits the scene. The frequency of the lightnings increases, the rain becomes stronger, the sound gets denser, the howling of the wolves joins in the scene.”

 

 

Digital Resource of the Week: PBS Arts

PBS Arts is a visual and performing arts website of the Public Broadcasting Service. Explore visual art, filmdance, theater, music, and writing through video. View them all in the Exhibition Archives. Here are some highlights:

Off Book is a PBS Arts collection of videos on experimental and avant-garde contemporary art. Topics such as Art in the Era of the Internet and Product Design are featured.

Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders is a series of video interviews with musicians and singers from around the world. Learn about Seu George, Brazilian samba singer, and concert pianist Yuja Wang.

loopdiver: The Journey of a Dance goes behind the scenes with the group Troika Ranch to capture the lives and emotions of its members.

PBS Arts also invites you to submit your own artwork via Flickr or YouTube. If you like PBS Arts, check out the PBS DVDs and videos available at the UArts Libraries!

Digital Resource of the Week: BBC Four Collections

BBC Four, one of the television and radio stations of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has made many of its programs available online. Called BBC Four Collections, they include:

All American programs aired in the mid 1960s and have continued through 2011. Most are a half hour to an hour in length and cover topics such as The Devil’s Music (that would be the Blues), an interview with Maya Angelou, a profile of Jackson Pollock, and the sex scandal of New York’s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

 

Victoria Spivey sings the Blues
Victoria Spivey sings the Blues

Army: A Very British Institution is about the history of the British Armed Forces.

Radio 4 Collections is broken into 4 areas: art, history, science, and society. There are interviews with theater actors and playwrights and programs about the ancient world.

Talk, a radio broadcast series, includes interviews with influential contemporary figures such as actor Nigel Hawthorne, artist Henry Moore, and film director Orson Welles.

 

Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art
Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art

Digital Resources of the Week for Animation

The Society for Animation Studies is an international group focused on scholarship about animation history and theory. It was founded in 1987 by Dr. Harvey Derenhoff, a prolific author of animation blogs, articles and books who teaches animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus. The Society’s website and Derenhoff’s personal website are great resources for anyone interested in animation.

The Society publishes an open access, scholarly e-journal called Animation Studies. They also have an Animation Bibliography which is constantly updated with links and citations to scholarly sources.

Video still from Tony Sargs and Herbert Dawley's 1921 "The First Circus"
Video still from Tony Sargs and Herbert Dawley's 1921 "The First Circus"

Want to watch some animation? Check out two freely available sets of iTunes podcasts. One is the Origins of American Animation from the Library of Congress. The films are from 1900 to 1921. Also see Pixar: 20 Years of Animation, available from MoMA. You can watch selections from movies such as Cars, Toy Story, and Monsters, Inc.

The UArts Libraries has terrific resources on animation. To start, check out our animation subject guide.

Digital Resource of the Week: Europa Film Treasures

from the 1904 French film Le Baquet de Mesmer
from the 1904 French film Le Baquet de Mesmer

Europa Film Treasures provides free access to nearly 150 early European films. You can search the collection a number of ways, making browsing this treasured archive easy and fun. Limit by time period (the collection includes films from 1895-1999), country of origin, or genre (such as animation, dance, drama, and fiction). An interesting search feature is element; you film buffs can see the difference between hand couloured and stencil coloured! (Note the British spellings.)

Each entry contains a brief essay about the film and a link to view the film. Enjoy!

Like watching films? The University Libraries has an extensive collection. Browse the Greenfield Library collection here and the Music Library collection here. You can also browse by subject and limit your search to videos. We also have films on animation, dance, drama, and fiction! Students can check out two videos at one time for three days.

Studio MFA Food for Thought Lecture: Birgit Rathsmann and Rick Karr

Filmmaker Birgit Rathsmann and media journalist Rick Karr will lecture Wednesday, July 27, at 1 p.m. in Hamilton Hall’s CBS Auditorium.

Birgit Rathsmann has internationally exhibited, including at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Haus der Kulturen in Berlin, and Raindance in London. She received her MFA from Hunter College. You can view some of her work on vimeo.

Rick Karr attended Purdue University and and the London School of Economics. He now teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is a correspondent for the PBS show Bill Moyers Journal and, in 2006, co-wrote the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Net @ Risk which explores the United States’ digital infrastructure and our dependence on it. View some of his reporting work through PBS’ Need to Know and watch his lecture from the National Conference for Media Reform in April 2011.

Birgit Rathsmann and Rick Karr are married and currently live in Brooklyn, New York.