Video Reviews | June 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review The White Meadows (Keshtzar Haye Sepid). color. 93+ min. In Farsi/Persian w/English subtitles. Mohammad Rasoulof, Sharz Tamasha Media, dist. by Global Film Initiative, 2013. DVD UPC 844667027280. $24.95. F

For 30 years, Rahmat has rowed his boat from island to island to learn of the heartache and collect the tears of people on Iran’s remote salt formations as they try to overcome life’s sorrows and injustices. The reverence with which Rahmat treats the tears he collects is evident, so much so that their ultimate destination will shock viewers. Iranian filmmaker Rasoulof’s 2009 allegorical movie cost him his freedom, as he was charged with creating propaganda against the regime and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence. When released, he will be banned from making films in that country for 20 years. VERDICT The grim mood of this movie realistically reflects the condition of life for many people in Iran. The film’s desolate tone and stark and haunting quality are truly unforgettable. An important piece of art that would be an excellent addition to any banned-materials display and should be considered for libraries with serious foreign film collections.—Krissy Cwengros, Scottsdale P.L., AZ

Library Journal Reviews starred review The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. 2 discs. color & b/w. 95+ min. Aviva Kempner, 2013. DVD UPC 091037548177. $90; home version $30 + s/h. SPORTS

Kempner’s Peabody Award–winning film, released theatrically in 2000, is an exceptionally well-done profile of Hank Greenberg (1911–86), the superlative Jewish baseball slugger for the Detroit Tigers during the 1930s and 1940s who answered the call for a bright hero during dark times roiling with anti-Semitism and bigotry. Viewers will be both educated and entertained by the many comments and anecdotes from sportswriters and Greenberg’s team members, family, and fans. The DVD has been out of print, and the director decided to bring it back with an additional disc encompassing two hours of extra interviews that didn’t appear in the original production, including a talk with Red Sox great Ted Williams and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, witty recollections from actor and Greenberg fan Walter Matthau, comments by noted sportswriter Shirley Povich, and more, adding body and depth to the legend of Hammerin’ Hank. The Greenberg story—particularly relating to his courageous decision to sit out on a Jewish holiday (Yom Kippur) during a key pennant race—resonates to this day. VERDICT This ably produced documentary transcends sports, and the bonus materials only make it better. Libraries that missed getting hold of it the first time around now have a second chance. A must-see.—Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL

Library Journal Reviews starred review Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. 2 discs. color. 4+ hrs. Maro Chermayeff, Show of Force & Fugitive Films, dist. by Docudrama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422922279. $29.95. INT AFFAIRS/WOMEN’S STUDIES

Based on Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same title, Half the Skyspans ten countries and enlists the support of a cast of celebrities, including Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, and Diane Lane, in an effort to cause awareness of the suffering of women around the globe embedded in the harsh world of gender inequality. Whether detailing the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somaliland or forced prostitution in India, Kristof, WuDunn, and their accompanying celebrity advocates take seriously the task of empowering women through education, the democratization of health care, and the edification of the people of the world about the burdens that come with the stigma of second-class citizenship. VERDICT The scenes of life across Southeast Asia, Africa, and India are intense and the emotions both free-flowing and powerfully raw. No member of the global village can stand to miss this truly enlightening film; highly recommended.—Brian Odom, Birmingham, AL

The following titles are reviewed in the June 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Indiscreet. color. 100 min. Stanley Donen, Melange Pictures, dist. by Olive Films, 2013. DVD UPC 887090052504. $19.95; Blu-ray UPC 887090052603. $29.95. F

The Loved Ones. color. 84+ min. Sean Bryne, Paramount Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781415767535. $19.99. HORROR

Masterpiece: Mr Selfridge. 3 discs. color. 480+ min. Jon Jones & others, ITV Studios, dist. by PBS, 2013. DVD ISBN 9781608838608. $49.99; Blu-ray ISBN 9781608838615. $54.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV

Special Branch: Set 1. 4 discs. color. 662+ min. William Brayne & others, Euston Films, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598288421. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV


Cleanflix. color. 93+ min. Andrew James & Joshua Ligairi, Beachfire Pictures & Icarus Arts & Entertainment, dist. by Passion River, 732-321-0711; 2012. DVD UPC 091037214973. $24.95. FILM STUDY

Troubadour Blues. color. 91 min. Tom Weber, dist. by MVDVisual, 800-888-0486; 2012. DVD UPC 735885349493. $19.95. MUSIC

Low & Clear. color. 70+ min. Kahlil Hudson & Tyler Hughen, Finback Films, dist. by AV Café, 877-228-2233; 2012. DVD UPC 800828339395. $24.95. SPORTS


Library Journal Reviews starred review Whittle: The Jet Pioneer. color. 71+ min. Nicholas Jones, Shelter Island, dist. by eOne Distribution, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781934708934. $24.98. BIOG/AVIATION

At Home with the Georgians. 3 discs. color. 180 min. Neil Combie & others, Matchlight Prod. for BBC, dist. by BFS Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 066805311048. $34.98.HIST

Secrets of Highclere Castle. color. 60 min. Vicky Matthews, Pioneer Film & Television Prods., dist. by PBS, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781608838592. $24.99. SDH subtitles. HIST

Six Million and One. color. 93 min. In Hebrew, English, & German w/English subtitles. David Fisher, Nancy Fishman Film Releasing, 2013. DVD $99; acad. libs. $275 + $15 s/h. Public performance.HIST/MEMOIR

Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment. color. 80+ min. Toby Perl Freilich, Jewish Documentary Film, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2012. DVD UPC 720229915229. $27.95. int affairs/rEL

Library Journal Reviews starred review High Ground. color. 97+ min. Michael Brown, Don Hahn Prod. & Khumbu Pictures Prod., dist. by Virgil Films, 2012. DVD UPC 829567083123. $19.99. SOC SCI/MILITARY HIST

Your American Teen. color. 54 min. Charles Taylor Gould, CTG Films, Cascadia Pictures, dist. by MVDVisual, 800-888-0486; 2013. DVD UPC 760137567899. $19.95. SOC SCI


Library Journal Reviews starred review Lost and Sound. color. 76 min. Lindsey Dryden, dist. by Filmakers Library, 800-889-5937; 2012. DVD $295. Public performance; SDH subtitles. HEALTH/MUSIC

Library Journal Reviews starred review A Natural History of Laughter. color. 48 min. Jacques Mitsch, dist. by Icarus Films, 800-876-1710; 2012. DVD $348. Public performance. SCI