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Cultural Documentaries

Anne Frank remembered

(Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2004.)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 135 .N5 A536 2004

"Features vintage newsreel footage, photographs and a rare home movie to look beyond the celebrated pages of Anne Frank's diary. Includes interviews with her friends, family and protector, Miep Gies."

Arctic son

(New Video Group, c2008)
McNichols Campus Library
GN 673 .A73 2008

"The clash of tradition and modernity puts a Native father and son at odds in a remote village 80 miles above the Arctic Circle."

Auschwitz : inside the Nazi state

(Warner Home Video, c2005.)
McNichols Campus Library
D 805.5 .A96 A973 2005

"'Auschwitz: inside the Nazi state' is the result of three years of research, drawing on the close involvement of world experts, recently discovered documents and nearly 100 interviews with camp survivors and perpetrators, many of whom are speaking on the record for the first time. Their stories are brought to life through the innovative use of archive footage, dramatic recreations of key ... moments, and their ... testimony"--

Awake Zion

(Cinema Guild, c2006)
McNichols Campus Library
BL 2532 .R37 A93 2006

"Director Monica Haim's exuberant documentary explores the surprising connections between reggae culture and Judaism. Haim brings together Jewish and Jamaican artists, scholars, and historians in a celebration of music, roots and culture. She embarks on a journey that takes her from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where she meets with Hasidic dancehall superstar Matisyahu, to Jamaica, birthplace of reggae, and ultimately to Israel, where a small, sizzling reggae scene thrives. Along the way, Awake Zion tells a fascinating story of unsuspecting cultural and historical convergence, a story about symbols, themes and traditions shared by people who might seem to be on opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum."

The blood of my brother

(Lifesize Entertainment, [2006])
McNichols Campus Library
DS 79.76 .B56 2006

Follows one Iraqi family's struggle to survive amidst the carnage of the growing Shia insurgency.  Nineteen year-old Ibrahim dreams of revenge when his brother is shot and killed by an American patrol. 

Brazil revealed

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2008)
McNichols Campus Library
F 2538.3 .B73 2008

" This program surveys the nation's culture and religion while exploring cities, rivers, forests, and other features of the vibrant Brazilian landscape. It also spotlights uniquely Brazilian experiences through profiles of individual citizens. These include a regatao or river trader who travel deep into the rain forest; a teenage maid who dreams of playing professional soccer; an Afro-Brazilian boy whose capoeira lessons have turned his life around; a peao or cowhand who longs to be a famous rodeo rider; a female Sao Paulo helicopter pilot chasing success in a male-dominated field; and a young girl taking part in Holy Week festivities in the old mining town of Ouro Preto."

Buena Vista Social Club

Wenders, Wim. (Artisan Home Entertainment, c1999.)
McNichols Campus Library
M 1681 .C918 B83 1999

In 1996, Ry Cooder went to Cuba to search for buried treasure. His recording featuring the re-discovered talents of Cuba's foremost folk musicians sold millions and earned a Grammy Award. Cooder now returns to Cuba with film maker Wim Wenders to reveal the stories, personalities, and music of the performers who collaborated on that recording. Includes live performances in Amsterdam and at Carnegie Hall. This documentary film is in Spanish and English with English subtitles.

A Bushman story

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2002.)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 1558 .J85 B87 2002

Takes an in-depth look at the culture of the Jul'hoansi of Namibia, known as the Bushmen of the Kalahari. They live cooperatively in extended family groups, trace their ancestry back 30,000 years, and are believedto have descended from the world's most ancient inhabitants.

Children underground

Belzberg, Edet. (New Video, c2002.)
McNichols Campus Library
HV 4591.8 .C45 2002

Documentary film about a year in the lives of five homeless Romanian children, who make their home in a subway station in Bucharest. Includes "Where are they now" updates. In Romanian with English subtitles.

China from the inside

(PBS Home Video, c2006)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 779.2 .C45 2006

"Four documentaries that survey China through Chinese eyes to see how history has shaped them, and where the present is taking them. Deals with the governance of China; talks about the past and future for Chinese women; looks at China's environmental challenges; explores China's conflict between personal freedom and governance."

China rises

(Discovery Channel, 2008)
McNichols Campus Library
HC 427.95 .C45 2008

"China Rises (a look at this rapidly developing economic power, from a factory to a pop concert and an Olympic volleyball court to the red carpet at the Shanghai Film Festival) and Behind the Great Wall (a look at the world's single greatest structure)."

Daughters of Afghanistan

(Choices, Inc., [2004])
DS 371.4 .D38 2004

"A documentary chronicling the struggle for women's rights in Post-Taliban Afghanistan. Award-winning journalist and UNICEF representative Sally Armstrong witnesses heroic women fighting for the cause, and the powerful forces that threaten their freedom."

Exploring the Egyptian pyramids

(BBC Worldwide Americas, 1997.)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 63 .E97

This documentary solves the mystery behind the construction of the pyramids of Egypt, and the culture that built them. This is done by archaeologists examining the wall paintings in the pyramids' interior. The paintings also reveal much about the mummification of the pyramids dead inhabitants.

Flowers of Rwanda

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2009)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 450.435 .F56 2009 DVD

"Can killers and survivors coexist in peace? That is the crucial question facing Rwanda a dozen years after the genocide that claimed the lives of approximately 800,000 people--and the subject of this multi-award winning documentary.... Flowers of Rwanda considers whether forgiveness and reconciliation can truly be achieved so the country can eradicate the ignorance and extremism that paved the way for monumental atrocity."


(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2000.)
McNichols Campus Library
GT 3412 .G45 2000

Documents the institution of Geisha in Japan, showing the daily lives of Geisha women and trainees (Maiko), including their costumes, makeup, living arrangements, and performance in dance and music. Interviews Geishas, Maikos, and clients.

God grew tired of us

(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2007)
McNichols Campus Library
E 184 .S77 G63 2007

"Explores the indomitable spirit of three "Lost Boys" from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to a tumultuous civil war. Chronicles their triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and a relocation to the United States, where the Lost Boys build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping friends and family they have left behind."

The greatest silence : rape in the Congo

(Women Make Movies, c2007.)
McNichols Campus Library
HV 6569 .C75 G74 2007

"Since 1998 a brutal war has been raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over 4 million people have died, and many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. Until now, the world has known nothing of their stories. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson has created an extraordinary film in which these brave women finally speak"

Heavy metal in Baghdad

(Arts Alliance America, [2008])
McNichols Campus Library
ML 421 .A27 H43 2007

"Follows the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda (Latin for a deadly black scorpion native to Iraq) from the fall of Saddam Hussein to their escape from Iraq."

In languages we live: voices of the world

Films for the Humanities and Sciences, [c2006].
McNichols Campus Library
P 123 .I45 2006

"Linguists investigate why some languages become global and others disappear and how language and identity are connected. They also discuss the state and fate of Livonian, Dogon, Mlabri, Changsha Hua, Naqxi, Pitjantjatjara, Pintupi, and Tutunaku.

Inca: secrets of the ancestors

(Time-Life Video and Television , c1995.)
McNichols Campus Library
F 3429 .I63 1995

Learn about the legendary kingdom of the Incas and the achievements of their society, including medical skills, engineering and architectural marvels, and much more.

Inside Mecca

(National Geographic Television & Film, 2003)
BP 187.3 .I57 2003 DVD

"An intimate and three-dimensional documentation of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Follows three Muslims from very different backgrounds as they embark on an epic five-day reaffirmation of faith and quest for salvation. Shows the personal stories of the pilgrims and the mental preparation, physical strain and spiritual ecstasy they encounter on their pilgrimage of faith."

Inside the Vatican

(National Geographic Video, 2002)
McNichols Campus Library
DG 794 .I57 2002

"A rare glimpse inside the secret archives and private chapels of the Vatican. Privileged accounts from Vatican officials, historians, and devoted individuals who work closely with Pope John Paul II provide insight into the remarkable history of the holy city and the unique traditions that have survived for nearly 2000 years."

Iran, the forgotten glory

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2009)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 286 .I72 2009

"Shot in over 60 locations in the province of Fars and 5 years in the making, "Iran, the forgotten glory," is the first independent documentary film series taking the audience on a journey into the depths of ancient Persian civilization, capturing the majesty and the splendor of the Achaemenid and Sassanid empires and their influence on world history, religion, art and culture by revealing the ancient tales hidden in the ruins and reliefs which exist today as a testament to their legacy."

Journey into Buddhism

(WGBH Boston Video, c2007)
McNichols Campus Library
BQ 6400 .J68 2007

"The film's narration explores the different cultural representations of the universal icon of inner peace and its contemporary relevance. Prajna Earth (disc no. 2): Prajna Earth visits spiritual intersections where Buddhist and Hindu wisdom traditions merged with the animist worship of nature, revealing a profound understanding of sacred nature existing both in the environment and within all living beings. Vajra sky over Tibet (disc no. 3): Travels through breathtaking Himalayan terrain, and visits extraordinary temples, monasteries, and festivals. The enduring power of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism resonates in all of its sacred shrines and echoes within the bustling Jokhang Temple and the empty Potala Polace, home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama."

The language you cry in

(California Newsreel, 1998)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 516.45 .M45 L35 1998

"Traces the history of a burial song of the Mende people brought by slaves to the rice plantations of the Southeast coast of the United States over two hundred years ago, and preserved among the Gullah people there. In the 1930s a pioneering Black linguist, Lorenzo Turner, recognized its origin, and in the 1990s scholars Joe Opala and Cynthia Schmidt discovered that the song was still remembered in a remote village in Sierra Leone. Dramatically demonstrates how African Americans retained links with their African past, and concludes with the visit of the Gullah family which had preserved the song to the Mende village, where villagers re-enact the ancient burial rites for them."

Lost boys of Sudan

(New Video Group, 2004.)
McNichols Campus Library
E 184 .S77 L67 2004

Chronicles the journey of two Sudanese boys, who have been orphaned by the war in Sudan, as they travel to the United States for a new start and learn the ways of modern culture.

The Medici : godfathers of the Renaissance

(Paramount Home Entertainment, c2005.)
McNichols Campus Library
DG 737.42 .M34 2005

"A tale of one family's ambition and of Europe's struggle to emerge from the ravages of the Dark Ages. The Medici used charm, skill, and ruthlessness to garner unparalleled wealth and power, ruling Europe for more than 300 years."

The Middle East: land of contrast.

(Discovery Communications, Inc., c2004.)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 44 .M53 2004

This ancient region gave rise to powerful civilizations and three of the world's great religions. Segments chronicle the interweaving of history, faith, and modern life in several nations. Students can better comprehend recent events in the Middle East by viewing these happenings against a historical background.

Miles from the border

(New Day Films, 2005)
McNichols Campus Library
F 869 .L89 M55 2005 DVD

"Describes the changes that have taken place in the last twenty years in an agricultural community north of Los Angeles. A brother and sister describe how they migrated from a rural Mexican village to the town and tell what it is like to live in a world divided between Anglos and Chicanos."


(Acorn Media, p2007.)
McNichols Campus Library
DA 28.1 .M662 2007 no.1-2

"David Starkey continues his multi-part examination of the English throne, with five episodes covering nearly 250 years, from Charles II to Victoria. Replete with infidelities, betrayals, and rivalries, English history emerges as a compelling family saga."

Mysteries of Egypt

(National Geographic Video,; c1999.)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 61 .M97 1999

"Uses the story of a grandfather enchanting his granddaughter with tales of tombs and treasures to describe the Egypt of 4,000 years ago when the Great Pyramids of Giza were built."

Panihari : the water women of India

(Choices, Inc., 2006.)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 485 .T476 P36 2006

A documentary film of India's desert communities of Rajasthan.  Follows the life of Paru,  a Panihari (women who fetch water) and the struggles she must endure. In Hindi with English subtitles and voice overs.  


(New Yorker Video, [2004])
McNichols Campus Library
DS 119.76 .P76 2004

Follows the journey of a filmmaker who travels in and around Jerusalem, from a Palestinian refugee camp to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, where he meets seven Palestinian and Israeli children who exist in separate worlds, divided by physical, historical, and emotional boundaries although they live only 20 minutes apart. Explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of these children and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors.  In Arabic, Hebrew and English with English subtitles.

The rape of Europa

(Menemsha Films, 2008)
McNichols Campus Library
N 8795.3 .G47 R37 2008

"Imagine the world without our masterpieces. Interviews with eyewitnesses and historians and newsreel footage show how during World War II the Nazis systematically took or destroyed the art of Europe. It follows the the heroic Europeans who first hid, and then set out to find and return what had been taken, with the help of the Allied forces "Monuments Men". It is work that continues to this day."

Refugee like me

(Landmark Media, c2002.)
McNichols Campus Library
HV 640 .R448 2002

"They are ordinary people. And they have come from disparate corners of the globe, seeking an elemental need - the need to be safe, the need to feel safe. Their exodus from their homeland is the most painful journey they will ever undertake. If they have made a choice, it is simply the choice to live. In this documentary film, 6 refugees discuss their experiences."

Return to Kandahar [DVD]

Nelofar Pazira, performer and narrator. (Bullfrog Films)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 352 .R48 2003

"Nelofar Pazira returns to Afghanistan to search for her childhood friend Dyana. Her first attempt to find Dyana inspired the fictional movie Kandahar. This film is the documentary account of her second journey, taken seven months after the fall of the Taliban. While searching for her friend, Pazira unravels her past and the troubled history of her country."

The salt men of Tibet

(Zeitgeist Video, [2002])
McNichols Campus Library
DS 786 .S24 2002

Documents the ancient traditions and social customs of four men from a nomadic Tibetan tribe who make the annual three month pilgrimage to a sacred salt lake to gather salt to sell to ensure their survival for the winter months.   In Tibetan with English subtitles. 


The shape of water

(Kum-Kum Bhavnani, c2006)
McNichols Campus Library
HQ 1236 .S53 2006

"Follows the efforts of women political activists in four developing countries (Brazil, India, Israel & Senegal) to effect positive change."

Slums and money

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, [2009])
McNichols Campus Library
HT 169.5 .S58 2009 DVD

"Focuses on patterns of urbanization and poverty, and their relationship to globalization and market regulation. Interviews with scholars, experts and oridinary individuals facing urban hardships are provided throughout. Commentators include Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Krugman, Sakika Fukuda Parr, and Robert Zoellick. City residents, favela dwellers, and merchants in India, Turkey, Nigeria, Brazil and China are also interviewed. Sponsored by the World Bank, and discusses some of its recommendations."

The Spartans

(PBS Home Video, c2003.)
McNichols Campus Library
DF 261 .S8 S637 2003

"Chronicles the rise and fall of the civilization of ancient Sparta, considering socio-economic, political and military aspects and influence on later Western culture. Key battles (Thermopylae, Sphakteria, Syracuse) and individuals (Leonidas, Lysander, Lycurgus, Agesilaos) are examined. Includes location footage and battle re-enactments."

Stolen generations

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, [c2004])
McNichols Campus Library
HV 6322.7 .S76 2004

"Starting in the 1930s, thousands of children across Australia were forcibly taken from their families simply because they were Aboriginal. In this documentary, personal accounts and newsreel footage tell the tragic story of a state-sanctioned attempt to assimilate and, thereby, eradicate a race by segregating its full-blooded members and marrying its "half-castes" into the white population for "biological absorption". Fueled by eugenics theories, the Australian government transported "half-caste" children to far-flung mssions for eventual adoption, leaving those behind to die out."

The story of India

(PBS Home Video, c2008)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 436 .S76 2008

"Historian Michael Wood chronicles the history of the Indian subcontinent, focusing especially on the diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes. The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many-armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world's most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory. India's history is a ten thousand year epic but for over two millennia, India has been at the center of world history: birthplace of two world religions, home of an extraordinary spectrum of music, dance, literature, science, mathematics, economics, and a revolutionary idea whose power has yet to diminish. It has seen successive invasions from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to Tamburlaine and the British, all of whom left their mark but all of whom succumbed--in the end--to India herself.

Tibet : cry of the snow lion

(New Yorker Video, 2004.)
McNichols Campus Library
DS 786 .T53 2004

A snow lion is a mythic beast of Tibetan legend. As a protector of the nation, the snow lion is emblazoned on the Tibetan flag, which is now outlawed by the Chinese government. Ten years in the making, filmed during a remarkable nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. The dark secrets of Tibet's recent past are powerfully chronicled through riveting personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one film.

Tibet : the end of time

(Time-Life Video and Television (distributor), c1995.)
McNichols Campus Library
CB 311 .T56 1995 no.10

Isolated by the Himalayas, Tibet has developed a culture centered on lives of altruism, the worship of the Dalai Lama as the manifestation of god on earth, and a perception of life as a repeating cycle. Now, however, modern life is intruding and the Tibetans' quest for peace, inner knowledge and nirvana may cease to exist.

To be and to have

(New Yorker Video, [2004])
McNichols Campus Library
LB 2832.4 .F8 E87 2004

An itimate and touching story of a devoted school teacher who influences the lifes of many children.  In French with English subtitles. 

The trees have a mother

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2009)
McNichols Campus Library
GR 133 .P47 T73 2009

"Chronicling a mother's desperation in the wake of her son's disappearance in the Peruvian Amazon, this film captures the indigenous cosmologies of a vanishing world. Folktales and compelling accounts of fishermen who make love to underwater creatures, women who give birth to dolphins, and people using dolphin sex organs as love charms in modern and globalized cities are amazingly portrayed in this documentary. Against a backdrop of ecological destruction the Amazon finds its voice in the stories and nature. Their message is one of heartfelt and dramatic hope for the survival of the world's sacred forests and our human species."

Turkey: the enchanted land of Cappadocia

(Vision Films, c1999.)
McNichols Campus Library
DR 429.4 .T8 1999

"Turkey's region of Cappadocia is a site of surreal, magical landscapes dotted with citadels, monasteries, and hidden underground cities. This is a land where millions of years ago a volcano erupted and left in its wake surfaces that have been shaped into 'fairy chimneys.' But human beings have also played a role in the natural wonder of Cappadocia, carving churches out of rock and cities out of stone"

Up the Yangtze

(Zeitgeist Films, 2008.)
McNichols Campus Library
PN 1997 .U66 2008

"A "farewell cruise" takes a luxury ship up the vast Yangtze River shortly before completion of the massive Three Gorges Dam. The passengers glimpse a rapidly changing countryside, while the local people struggle to adapt as their lives are irrevocably altered."

Voices of Iraq

(Magnolia Home Entertainment, [2006])
McNichols Campus Library
DS 79.76 .V65 2006

Documents the lives of Iraqis after the fall of Sadam. 

Voyage of the Courtesans

(PBS Home Video, c2005.)
McNichols Campus Library
HV 8950 .N6 V69 2005

Brings to light the true story of the 1789 voyage of the Lady Juliana, when England emptied its jails of female prisoners and sent them to Australia. 

War dance

(Image Entertainment, [2008])
McNichols Campus Library
GV 1799 .W37 2008

"A depiction of the transformative and uplifting potential of music and dance in the lives of children. Dominic, Rose, and Nancy are three children of the Acholi tribe, living in the war zone displacement camp in Patongo, Uganda. As war refugees, their families have been decimated, their homes lost, and they have been burdened with vivid memories of violence. However, the children are at least able to attend a camp school that offers them inspiration, as they participate in music, song and performance. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival in their nation's capitol, an opportunity for which all 20,000 Ugandan schools compete, they are given the chance to regain hope and success in their lives."

What in the world?: Guatemala.

(Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2006.)
McNichols Campus Library
HD 9199 .G82 W43 2006

"Coffee is second only to oil as the world's most valuable traded commodity, but small scale producers rarely profit from it. This program reveals the hardship and uncertainty faced by coffee farmers in Guatemala, and how many are taking steps to obtain better prices and build better lives. Analyzing the country's traumatic history and the lingering effects of its civil war, the video sheds light on the reluctance of some citizens to organize for fear of persecution and murder."

Winged migration

(Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, c2003.)
McNichols Campus Library
QL 698.9 .W553 2003

"Follows bird migrations flying over the seven continents: from one pole to the other, from the seas to snowcapped mountains, from the canopy of heaven to mangroves and swamps."

Wonders of the African world

(PBS Home Video, c1999.)
McNichols Campus Library
DT 14 .G3852 1999

"Documentary film presents Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the journey from Zanzibar to Timbuktu, the Nile River Valley to Great Zimbabwe, the slave coast of Guinea to the medieval monasteries of Ethiopia in search of the lost wonders of the African world."

Working with Arab Americans

(American Psychological Association, 2008.)
RC 480 .A6 Series 5 no.7 2008 DVD

In Working with Arab Americans, Dr. Naji Abi-Hashem demonstrates his approach to working with clients with Middle-Eastern and Arab backgrounds. Arab and Middle-Eastern Americans are a heterogeneous group that includes people from the three major world religions and with origins in dozens of countries. Dr. Abi-Hashem shows a general way to work with Arab American clients that touches on certain commonalties across these cultures, such as greeting clients with respect, awareness of personal boundaries and potential internal conflicts about living in the West, and reconciling tradition with American culture. In this session, Dr. Abi-Hashem works with a young man of Jordanian descent who, in spite of the fact that he is very much an American, is trying to maintain his cultural heritage for his father's sake.

Cindy Gilham

Associate Librarian
Reference Services
McNichols Campus Library

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