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BILLY NAYER SHOW: EARLY YEARS
ISA: THE PEOPLE'S DIVA
The Billy Nayer Show celebrates over a decade of independence in music and film with this wide-ranging collection. From stream of consciousness musicals to animated obsessions, these short films recall David Lynch, Guy Maddin, and the Quay Brothers. Includes
(1992, 3 mins.),
The Man on the Moon
(1993, 23 mins.),
The Ketchup and Mustard Man
(1994, 35 mins.), music videos, rare recordings, photos, paintings, and live footage.
Cory McAbee---USA---1992-1994---88 mins.
After winning the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1984, Costas Ferris' evocative film sparked a rediscovery of rembetika music, a form of urban Greek expression akin to American blues in its passionate, soulful delivery and its associations with the plight of the poor and marginalized. The film follows a Greek singer's remarkable career from the backstreet taverns of Piraeas to the nightclubs of New York. Award-winning Greek actress Sotiria Leonardou stars as Marika, a singer whose family immigrated to Greece from Smyrna, where rembetika has its musical roots.
is enchanting yet melancholy, stark but smoldering--much like the music itself. "The film's sound is as rich as its color" (
Los Angeles Times
). This Director's Cut is 40 minutes longer than the 1983 theatrical cut. In Greek with English subtitles.
Costas Ferris---Greece---1983---150 mins.
Isa Kremer lived life to the fullest as the premier singer of authentic Yiddish songs. The first woman to perform Yiddish songs on the concert stage, she legitimized the language as a valid and vital part of Jewish culture. A classically trained opera star, Isa acted out these folk tunes using her voice, gestures, and mannerisms, offering emotional and dramatic interpretations. Using rare footage, hundreds of photos, and interviews with friends, family members, performers, and scholars,
Isa: The People’s Diva
chronicles Kremer’s life across five decades. Not only did her career parallel some of the 20th-century’s most tumultuous events--the Russian Revolution, the rise of Nazism, and the volatile politics of South America--her career was directly affected by their outcome. Despite personal trauma and political turmoil, Kremer never backed down from controversy, took the easy path, or surrendered to pressure to stop performing in Yiddish.
Isa: The People’s Diva
reclaims the legacy of this complex, passionate woman, who transcended both time and geographic borders, from the lost pages of history. “[Kremer] searches for hidden treasure in the realm of art. She sings with her voice, her body, her eyes, and she captivates with her charm” (
Los Angeles Times
, Dec. 19, 1924).
Ted Schillinger---USA---2000---56 mins.
AURELIO: REBEL WITH A CAUSE
SI SOS BRUJO: A STORY OF TANGO
Narrated by Andy Garcia, this documentary not only unveils the long journey of Cuban classical music composer Aurelio De La Vega, but also unmasks the various faces of nationalism, with their diverse socio-political implications. It conveys opinions and thoughts from several Cuban musicians, painters and writers, as it explores the relationship of an artist to the society that surrounds him at a given historical moment. DVD extras include two complete original compositions of Aurelio De La Vega performed in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2014:
Camilo Vila---USA---2014---38 mins.
A heartfelt, inspiring film that could do for Argentine Tango what the
Buena Vista Social Club
did for the music of Cuba. This beautifully shot documentary captures the compelling story of a group of young Argentine musicians racing to learn and preserve the elegant and nuanced music played by the legendary Golden Age tango orchestras of Buenos Aires in the 40's and 50's. For those familiar with the names of Pugliese, Triolo and Piazzolla, this film is essential viewing. It also has broad appeal, as anyone interested in the creative musical process will love
Si Sos Brujo
. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Caroline Neal---Argentina---2005---79 mins.
In this light-hearted musical comedy with a message, a North African pop group called Rap Oriental uses music to triumph over the bigotry and violence in their housing project on the outskirts of Paris. The band and their devoted fans are pitted against religiously conservative elders who want to stop the music. The film features Khaled and Cheb Mami, two real-life stars of rai music--a combination of North African sounds and western-style rap. The pair offers a message with a beat as they rock, groove, and ultimately soothe their 'hood with their unique sound. In French with English subtitles.
Mahmoud Zemmouri---France/Belgium/Switzerland---1997---85 mins.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
An award-winning look at World War II Budapest. A Jewish family hides out from Nazi occupancy with an opera singer whose beautiful voice is said to protect all from capture. With Ildiko Bansagi, Franco Castellano, and David Zum. Director Andor Szilagyi was nominated for the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. In Hungarian with English subtitles.
Andor Szilagyi---Hungary---2003---98 mins.
Award-winning filmmaker Paul Leduc [
(1984)] directed this gritty musical drama about life in the ghettos of Mexico City during the 1980s. With a soundtrack of contemporary Mexican rock, the camera takes the viewer through the streets, bars, and rock clubs in order to expose the hunger, repression, unhealthy conditions and violence in the marginal communities of Mexico's capital city. "The tradition of a committed experimental cinema [remains] alive with...Paul Leduc" (
Oxford History of World Cinema
was an Ariel Award nominee for Best Actor in a Minor Role (Jose Rodriguez). In Spanish with English subtitles.
Paul Leduc---Mexico---1985---75 mins.
Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison was inspired by the true story of Margaret Garner in writing her novel
. Garner was a slave in pre-Civil War America who escaped and killed her own daughter rather than see her return to slavery. Morrison later wrote the libretto for
, an opera composed by Richard Danielpour and commissioned by the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Cincinnati Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia in 2005. By recounting Garner's tale in conjunction with the story behind this "black" opera and the harsh Washington upbringing of its mezzo soprano, Denyce Graves, the film
re-examines a tragic historical moment while addressing race issues that are still prevalent today.
Mustapha Hasnaoui---France---2006---52 mins.
YOUTH OF CHOPIN
POPOVICH BROTHERS OF SOUTH CHICAGO, THE
MAXWELL STREET BLUES
Aleksander Ford's biographical film of the great composer, Frederic Chopin, tracing his early study of music in 1825 through his first major accomplishments in 1831. At a time of social unrest throughout Europe, Ford depicts Chopin as not only an outstanding talent in music but also a young man inflamed with the revolutionary spirit of his native Poland. While on tour in Vienna, he gets word of the November Uprising in Warsaw and tries to return home only to fall ill. Chopin's music is played in the film by leading Polish pianists Halina Stefanska and Wladyslaw Kedra. Nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Also known as
. In Polish with English subtitles.
Aleksander Ford---Poland---1952---121 mins.
In a small community of steel workers, truck drivers, and teachers on the South Side of Chicago, a musical group called the Popovich Brothers maintained the traditional music and rich culture of their Serbian homeland by performing in local venues. During the 1970s, when this poignant, but entertaining, documentary was produced, the Popovich Brothers had been performing for almost 50 years, bringing this music to young generations eager to embrace the culture and values of their parents' native country. Just as the brothers preserve the traditions of another time and place, so does this documentary, offering a snapshot of Chicago's Serbian-American community. "Filled with songs and life, with the lilting, driving, and sometimes sad music of Serbia" (Roger Ebert,
Jill Godmilow---USA---1978---60 mins.
Raul Zaritsky/Linda Williams
AFRO-CUBA: YESTERDAY & TODAY
JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1
JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 2
Two exciting, colorful films spotlight the African roots of Cuba's culture by focusing on two legendary artists. Afro-Cuban mythology plays a major part in
The Last Rumba of Papa Montero
(Octavio Cortazar, Martinique/Cuba, 1992, 52 mins.), a film about the rhythmic dance style known as the Rumba and the legendary rumbero, Papa Montero, who was assassinated during Carnival. Told through beautiful images, sensual music, and exciting dance performances, this story captures the traditions of Cuban life as it guides the main character to his fate. Next, the multilayered documentary
Sara Gomez: An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker
(Alessandra Muller, Switzerland/Cuba, 2005, 76 mins.), focuses on the biography of Cuba's first female director. Though trained in ethnography, Gomez later turned to making films that reflect her interests in Afro-Cuban culture and women's issues. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Octavio Cortazar/Alessandra Muller---Martinique/Cuba/Switzerland---1992/2005---128 mins.
The groundbreaking films of award-winning documentary filmmaker Johan van der Keuken stretch the boundaries of both documentary and narrative fiction. Rejecting the traditional documentary format as too restrictive, he uses fictional techniques to depict content drawn from real life, resulting in a uniquely personal style that is at once daring and engaging. Includes
I Love $
A Moment of Silence
The Eye Above the Well
Lucebert: Time and Farewell
The Unanswered Question
On Animal Locomotion
. "Along with Errol Morris and Chris Marker, van der Keuken is one of the true inheritors of the poetic documentary style of Dziga Vertov" (
San Francisco Bay Guardian
). French, English, and Dutch with French, English, and Dutch subtitles.
Johan van der Keuken---Netherlands---1960-1994---517 mins.
Cogent, complex, and classically composed, the documentaries of Johan van der Keuken reveal his lifelong curiosity about the ever-changing world and its inhabitants. His films stretch the boundaries of both documentary and narrative fiction, resulting in a uniquely personal style that is as daring as it is compassionate. Volume 2 features
Amsterdam Global Village
, an epic portrait of van der Keuken's hometown and the people who live there, as well as
Sarajevo Film Festival Film
To Sang Fotostudio
, Ramon Gieling's documentary
Living With Your Eyes
, and Thierry Nouel's
Johan van der Keuken
. "Arguably Europe's most important documentary filmmaker" (
New York Times
). In Dutch, English, and French with French, English, and Dutch subtitles. Spanish subtitles for Discs 2 and 3 only.
Johan van der Keuken---Netherlands---1993-2001---535 mins.
JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 3
JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 4
Cogent, complex, and classically composed, the documentaries of Johan van der Keuken reveal his lifelong curiosity about the ever-changing world and its inhabitants. His films stretch the boundaries of both documentary and narrative fiction, resulting in a uniquely personal style that is as daring as it is compassionate. Volume 3 highlights work from the filmmaker's mid-career, including
Diary, The White Castle, Bert Schierbeek/The Door, Vietnam Opera, Paris a l'Aube, Blind Child, Beppie, Herman Slobbe/Blind Child 2, Big Ben: Ben Webster in Europe, The Spirit of the Time, The Cat, The New Ice Age, Four Walls, Velocity 40-70, The Wall
Springtime: Three Portraits
. In Dutch, French, and English with English subtitles.
Johan van der Keuken---Netherlands---1960-1976---535 mins.
Cogent, complex, and classically composed, the documentaries of Johan van der Keuken reveal his lifelong curiosity about the ever-changing world and its inhabitants. His films stretch the boundaries of both documentary and narrative fiction, resulting in a uniquely personal style that is as daring as it is compassionate.
spotlights work from the filmmaker's mid-career, including
The Storm of Images
The Flat Jungle
The Master and the Giant
The Reading Lesson
The Way South
The Filmmaker's Holiday
(1974). In Dutch, French, and English with English subtitles.
Johan van der Keuken---Netherlands---1973-1982---527 mins.