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What We’re Watching

Government Documents staff member Sharon Thayer loves documentaries. She shares a list of her top ten favorites available on DVD at Bailey/Howe Library (in alphabetical order, no less).

She says, “Working here, we are so fortunate to have a fantastic collection pretty much at our disposal in the Media Resources Department.”

Devil's Playground DVD cover
Devil’s Playground (DVD 3141)
A look a Amish teens during their often wild “rumspringa” free time before they decide whether or not to formally join their church.

Helvetica DVD cover
Helvetica (DVD 5684)
Yes I know, the story of a typeface sounds ultra boring, but it is anything but – it’s a fascinating exploration of the first arguably modern global font used to label much of our Western world, and also an amusing glimpse into the sometimes eccentric and opinionated world view of graphic designers.

I Like Killing Flies DVD cover
I Like Killing Flies (DVD 6023)
A very NY story of the cranky oddball owner/chef of a café in Greenwich Village and a slice of life now almost lost in today’s slicker, more homogeneous city.

Mad Hot Ballroom DVD cover
Mad Hot Ballroom (DVD 3846)
A city-wide school competition, with 5th grade kids from different socio-economic classes learning and vying for victory in the unlikely arena of ballroom dancing. The kids are charming, funny and real, and their teachers’ interest and dedication is a wonderful thing to witness.

Man On Wire DVD cover
Man on Wire (DVD 6204)
A portrait of Philippe Petit and his amazing tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974 – told as if it were a crime caper, and even though you know the outcome, you are on the edge of your seat.

Spellbound
Spellbound (DVD 2746)
Another school-aged competition, follows 8 teens from disparate backgrounds/motivations as they compete at the annual National Spelling Bee – surprisingly tense and exciting as the field narrows.

Stolen DVD cover
Stolen (DVD 4111)
The story of the still unsolved 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Art historians, fine art detectives, the IRA and the Boston Mob all figure in this mystery.

Surfwise DVD cover
Surfwise (DVD 5786)
The powerful, disturbing story of a hippie surfer family with 9 kids and a charismatic and overwhelming father.

The Up Series DVD cover
The Up Series (DVD 3291 plus DVD 2509)
A classic British film study following the lives of 14 people from different backgrounds and experiences checking in every seven years from the age of 7 on “up”. The first was done in 1964, the latest, 49 Up, was released in 2005.

Winged Migration DVD cover
Winged Migration (DVD 2705)
The beautiful, moving, almost silent film of what birds go through on their migrations – filmed over many years from hot air balloons and gliders on all seven continents giving one gorgeous vistas of the earth and the sense of being in flight right along with the birds.

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