Toxic Tears: The Darker Side of the Green Revolution. color. 25+ min. In Hindi & English w/English subtitles. Tom Deiters & Hilbert Kamphuisen, Video Project, 800-4-PLANET; www.videoproject.com. 2012. DVD $79; acad. libs. $150. Public performance; closed-captioned. ENVIRONMENT
This award-winning short video examines the green revolution at a local level. Intrepid Dutch filmmakers set up their operation in the shimmering heat of India’s Punjab province, where they interview villagers, businessmen, and officials around the town of Chotian. The key question: Why are farmers committing suicide? It appears that small landholders are getting the hard sell, with easy credit, from merchants of genetically modified seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides. Thus, many Chotian-area farmers have gone into debt, with their property as collateral. Some have been bankrupted and have felt no recourse but to take their own life. A scientist from New Delhi comments that the big agricultural companies are the main beneficiaries of this trend. VERDICT This presentation is a cautionary tale that counters the cheerleading about high-tech farming that we in the West so often hear. This production should resonate with viewers concerned about sustainable agriculture and the plight of India’s farmers.—David R. Conn, formerly with Surrey Libs., BC
The Innkeepers. 100+ min. Ti West, Glass Eye Pix, dist. by Dark Sky Films c/o MPI Media, www.mpimediagroup.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780788611711. $27.98; Blu-ray ISBN 9780788611674. $34.98. Rated: R. HORROR
The century-old Yankee Pedlar Inn is about to shut its doors for good. Its two remaining employees, Claire (Last House on the Left’s Sara Paxton in a standout performance) and Luke (Pat Healy, Rescue Dawn), are whiling away their last shift searching for Madeline, the inn’s purported ghost. As the inn’s final hour draws near, the pair encounter strange phenomena that may cause them to become more than spectators to the hotel’s eerie history. The detachment and aimlessness of these quasi–ghost hunters are where the film’s real horror lies. Things that go bump in the night can be exorcised, but the loneliness, ennui, and empty lives that haunt these walls are much harder to expel. In the ghost of Madeline, a bride who committed suicide in one of the rooms, it becomes clear that even death offers no escape. VERDICT This atmospheric spookfest is a must-see for fans of traditional haunted house yarns like The Old Dark House (1932), The Haunting (1963), and The Shining (1980). Its similarity to these classics makes The Innkeepers refreshingly different from today’s standard shock-horror fare. Recommended. [Check out Bogino’s top 25 horror films on Blu-ray at ow.ly/eZe8F.—Ed.]—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY
As a Young Girl of Thirteen: Simone Lagrange Remembers Auschwitz. color & b/w. 88 min. In French & English w/English subtitles. Elisabeth Coronel & others, Icarus Films, 800-876-1710; www.icarusfilms.com. 2011. DVD $298. Public performance. BIOG/HIST
Through interviews, Lagrange (b. 1930) recounts her experiences as a young Jewish girl in France during the Holocaust. She relates how her family was betrayed and punished for helping others in France and later in Auschwitz, where the young Simone encountered the sadistic German doctor Josef Mengele. Lagrange is revealed to be a spirited young woman (she threw an inkwell at her teacher who demeaned her in front of others because of her Jewish background) who ultimately survived through pluck and circumstance. One focus of the film is Klaus Barbie, the most notorious of Nazi collaborators in France. Lagrange saw his cruelty firsthand and was later called to testify against him at his 1987 trials. Striking footage from those trials is interspersed with present-day scenes as Lagrange recounts her tale to schoolchildren. VERDICT Viewers from teens to adults will come away with a better understanding of the Holocaust in France through the eyes of this courageous and in many ways remarkable woman.—Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL
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The following titles are reviewed in the November 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Carnal Innocence. color. 87 min. 2012. Peter Markle, Mandalay/SPG, dist. by Baker & Taylor. 2012. DVD UPC 037117039937. $14.99.
Lake Effects. color. 100 min. Michael J. McKay, dist. by Anchor Bay Entertainment, www.anchorbayentertainment.com. 2012. DVD UPC 013132571987. $19.98.
Reel Love. color. 86+ min. Brian K. Roberts, dist. by Entertainment One, www.eonehomevideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781417237494. $19.98. SDH subtitles. F/TV
ARTS & HUMANITIES
From the Back of the Room. b/w. 104 min. Amy Oden, Back of the Room Prods., dist. by MVD Visual, 800-888-0486; www.mvdb2b.com. 2012. DVD UPC 760137537595. $99.95. Public performance. MUSIC
In the Footsteps of Chopin. 49 min. Valérie Esposito. DVD ISBN 9780769792057.
In the Footsteps of Tchaikovsky. 52 min. Raynald Mérienne. DVD ISBN 9780769792064.
ea. vol: color. Eclectic Prod., dist. by Kultur, www.kultur.com. DVD $19.99. music
The Poetry Deal: A Film with Diane di Prima. color. 27 min. Melanie La Rosa, dist. by Women Make Movies, 212-925-0606; www.wmm.com. 2012. DVD $89; acad. libs. $195 (Rental: $60). Public performance. POETRY
Poetry of Resilience. color. 40 min. Katja Esson, Penelope Pictures, dist. by Women Make Movies, 212-925-0606; www.wmm.com. 2012. DVD $89; acad. libs. $250 (Rental: $75). Public performance. POETRY
Payback: Some Debts Can’t Be Paid with Money. color. 86+ min. In English, Spanish, & Albanian w/English subtitles. Jennifer Baichwal, Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, dist. by Zeitgeist Films, www.zeitgeistfilms.com. 2012. DVD UPC 795975114431. $29.99. ECON
History of the World in Two Hours: 13.7 Billion Years in the Making. color. 88+ min. Douglas J. Cohen, Flight 33 Prods., dist. by History Channel c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422935897. $19.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781422991787. $29.95. HIST
The Wereth Eleven. color & b/w. 60+ min. Robert Child, Ardennes Group, dist. by Janson Media, www.janson.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781568394114. $24.95. HIST/F
Prosecutor. color. 94+ min. Barry Stevens, White Pine Pictures w/Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, dist. by Icarus Films, 800-876-1710; www.icarusfilms.com. 2012. DVD $398. Public performance; closed-captioned. LAW
Priceless. color. 58 min. Steve Cowan, dist. by Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764; www.bullfrogfilms.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781594589096. $295 (Rental: $95). Public performance; SDH subtitles. POLITICS
In the Garden of Sounds. color. 90+ min. In Italian & Swiss w/English subtitles. Nicola Bellucci, Soap Factory, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2012. DVD UPC 720229915021. $27.95. PSYCH
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Gypsy Vanner Horse. color. 65 min. Mark J. Barrett, In Motion Prods., dist. by Janson Media, www.janson.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781568394497. $24.95. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt. color. 69+ min. Sally Rowe, Rowe Road Prods., dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2012. DVD UPC 720229915151. $27.95. Closed-captioned. COOKING
The Code. 2 vols. color. 174+ min. Stephen Cooter & others, Open University, dist. by Athena Learning, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598287813. $39.99. SDH subtitles. MATH