ARTS & HUMANITIES
Ne Change Rien. b/w. 100 min. In French w/English subtitles. Pedro Costa, dist. by Cinema Guild Home Video, www.cinemaguild.com. 2011. DVD ISBN 9780781513777. $29.95. MUSIC
French actress and singer Jeanne Balibar (b. 1968) isn’t merely another torch singer. She emanates music the way she exhales her cigarettes, in an enveloping mist that is both aurally captivating and visually entrancing, and Costa’s film elegantly, mesmerizingly captures her in performance and rehearsal and places in between. Ne Change Rien is as fascinating a window into filmmaking as it is into music‚ it feels more like a feature film than a documentary. Balibar is comfortable with the camera, and her creativity, craftsmanship, and interaction with ace guitarist Rodolphe Burger are shown to maximum effect. Like much of most emotional performances, the quiet, unspoken places are as important as the music. Bonus features include The End of the Affair, a short film by Costa, and additional songs. VERDICT This is a quiet masterpiece of filmmaking, clearly evocative of the best of the French New Wave. Highly recommended.‚ Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR
How To Die in Oregon. color. 107+ min. Peter D. Richardson, HBO Documentary Films, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422995244. $29.95. soc sci
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. This film explores the experiences of several patients who choose that option as well as some who do not and some who, when it is time, are physically unable to drink the cocktail, as the law requires. The film also follows the efforts of one woman in Washington State to help to pass a similar law in memory of her husband, who died of cancer after much suffering. The crucial part of the Oregon law is that the individual makes the decision and ingests the dose under his or her own power. All the doctor does is write the prescription. Some people have the prescription filled but then don’t use it. Some wait longer than they thought they would. But all have the prerogative of dying at home, surrounded by loved ones instead of strangers and devoid of machinery. The question of this action’s effects on the family is explored in depth. No one has the right to choose for anyone else, but everyone ought to have the right to choose for themselves. VERDICT This film is recommended for physicians, students, ethicists, patients, and all who wish to live a worthwhile life for as long as they can.‚ Susan B. Hagloch, formerly with Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH
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The following titles are reviewed in the May 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.
The Brontës of Haworth. 2 discs. color. 260+ min. Marc Miller, Yorkshire Television & ITV Studios, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598287387. $39.99. SDH subtitles. F/BIOPIC
Killing Bono. color. 114+ min. Nick Hamm, dist. by ARC Entertainment c/o Amazon; Midwest Tape. 2012. DVD UPC 796019823876. $22.99. Closed-captioned. Rated: R. F/MUSIC
New Tricks: Season 6. 3 discs. color. 470+ min. Martyn Friend & others, BBC, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598287264. $39.99. SDH subtitles. F
Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story. color. 52 min. Daniel Birman, dist. by Cinema Guild, 212-685-6242; www.cinemaguild.com. 2011. DVD ISBN 9780781513807. $99.95; acad. libs. $295 (Rental: $99.95). Public performance. CRIMINOLOGY
King Arthur and Medieval Britain. 2 discs. color. 315+ min. A&E Television Networks, dist. by New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422991909. $19.95. HIST
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. color & b/w. 87+ min. Jon Foy, Land of Missing Parts Prod., dist. by Entertainment One, www.eonehomevideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781417235858. $24.98. SDH subtitles. PARAPSYCH
The Grove: AIDS and the Politics of Remembrance. color. 57 min. Andy Abrahams Wilson, Open Eye Pictures, www.openeyepictures.com; www.thegrovefilm.com. 2011. DVD ISBN 9780984140718. $85; acad. libs. $229. Public performance; closed-captioned. SOC SCI
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Sun Come Up. color. 38 min. Jennifer Redfearn, Big Red Barn Films in assoc. with Chicken & Egg Pictures, dist. by New Day Films, www.newday.com. 2011. DVD ISBN 9780615509556. $129; acad. libs. $295 (Rental: $75). Public performance. ENVIRONMENT
Here Comes the Juror
Longtime LJ video reviewer Tom Budlong has made the most of his retirement from the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library. He and his wife travel extensively, he is a docent at a local museum, and this year he took advantage of his expertise to be a juror at the prestigious Atlanta Film Festival. Here’s his view of the experience.
This past winter, one of my fellow docents at the High Museum of Art told me that the Atlanta Film Festival needed more jurors to prescreen and review entries. I applied, citing my previous experience as a film librarian and LJvideo reviewer. I was accepted as a festival screener. Films were reviewed via DVD or online using a site called Withoutabox. All the entries assigned to me had tracking numbers, and I was given a personal Google Screening Sheet to post my evaluations online. Separate scoring sheets were established for shorts and features. Scoring is based on a one to ten rating scale for criteria such as story (content), technical merit, originality, acting/subjects, and entertainment; the scoring sheet also contains a section for comments. I evaluated 19 films, one was a feature film, with most of the rest narrative short subjects. I particularly liked the ease of online viewing and submitting my evaluations digitally because the website provided synopses and additional data on each submitted film.
About a week before the opening of this 36th edition of the Atlanta Film Festival, held March 23‚ April 1, I was informed that I would be receiving an all screenings pass to attend as a thank you. Owing to its longevity, the festival is recognized as a qualifying event for the Academy Awards in the competitive categories. Over 2200 entries were submitted and a little over 200 actually made it to the final showings. I thoroughly enjoyed attending as the event itself brought the process full circle. It’s fascinating to watch films being shown for the first time, knowing that some will eventually be seen in theaters or on television. Of particular interest were the opportunities to hear the filmmakers discuss their works at Q&A sessions following the screenings. I found it rewarding to have had an opportunity to apply my review skills in a different venue. I’m curious now to see what films from Atlanta get to that coveted Academy Award spotlight.