Tuesday, September 30, 2014

American Winter (2014)

"Years after the recession began, millions of families are struggling to meet their basic needs, and many formerly middle class families are finding themselves in financial crisis, and needing assistance for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile, the social safety net that was created to help people in difficult times has been weakened by massive budget cuts, creating a perfect storm of greater need and fewer resources to help families in trouble.

Filmed over the course of one winter in Portland, Oregon, American Winter presents an intimate and emotionally evocative snapshot of the state of our economy as it is playing out in many American families."
—Film distributor's website

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A People Uncounted (2014)

Director: Aaron Yeger
Run Time: 99 min.

"A People Uncounted is a counterpoint to the mainstream cultural stereotypes about the Roma. It’s a crash course in Romani history, from their ethnic roots to the many ways they have been, and continue to be, subjects of political prejudice and violence in an increasingly unstable EU. Approximately 500,000 Roma were killed during the Holocaust, a statistic driven home by the wrenching testimony of survivors who describe horrors ranging from cannibalism to experiencing the cruelty of Dr. Mengele firsthand. Footage of recent genocides, such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia, are used to demonstrate how easily such brutality can become the norm. The growing marginalization of the Roma as described in A People Uncounted shows just how close the tipping point is."
—Jenni Miller, A.V. Club

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Citizen Koch (2014)

Director: Carl Deal and Tia Lessin
Run Time: 86 min.

"In 'Citizen Koch,' the directors’ subject is an entire country that is drowning, metaphorically speaking, in corporate snake oil. The death of democracy ought to be the biggest story in journalism. But dividing the drama between 300 million citizens leaves it lost in a cloud of sleep-inducing defeatism. . . . Most of the movie is a backgrounder on the Citizens United case, in which a deeply divided Supreme Court opened the door to truckloads of campaign cash from tycoons and corporations."
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Friday, September 5, 2014

Who is Dayani Cristal? (2013)

Director: Marc Silver
Run Time: 85 min.
Call Number: JV6483 .W46 2013

"The Sonora Desert in Arizona is freezing at night, brutally hot in the day. The documentary Who is Dayani Cristal? reveals that the infrastructure dealing with illegal immigration into the United States from points south is likewise hot, cold, and unnecessarily deadly. . . . We meet Americans dedicated to identifying, even humanizing, the bodies found there. But the system is by design a trap. Director Marc Silver covers one immigrant's journey, starting with his death."
—Daphne Howland, Village Voice

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (2013)

Director: Al Reinert
Run Time: 92 min.
Call Number: HV6533.T4 U573 2013

"The prospect of unjust imprisonment is a plight both easily imagined and terrifying, and we all wonder how we might fare in such a grim circumstance. No case in modern America illuminates this condition more completely than the story of Michael Morton. In 1986 his young wife Christine was brutally murdered in front of their only child, and he was accused and convicted of the crime, spending a quarter of a century in Texas prisons. Michael’s son Eric, only three at the time of his mother’s death, was raised by family members and eventually cut off all contact with the father he believed had killed his mother.

An Unreal Dream is Michael’s story: the love he shared with Christine, his despair at her murder followed quickly by his shock at his own arrest, his conviction at the hands of a small-town jury influenced by a legendary sheriff and ambitious DA, the long prison years relieved only by new friendships and a profound spiritual experience, the difficult fight for his freedom."

—Film website