Movies and more movies!

by John P.

Due to a generous donation of DVDs to the Southside library, we have been able to add some DVD titles we have not been able to carry before, because they have been unobtainable for us. All titles are available through our website at

These movies are the kinds of titles that film buffs will like, and with the shutdown of most alternative movie screens in Santa Fe, at least there is the option of rediscovering them for free from us.

Book Cover

Starting off there is Bitter Victory – from 1958 : “British Capt. Leith (Richard Burton) knows the Libyan Desert like the back of his hand, but Maj. Brand (Curt Jurgens), who’s unfamiliar with the terrain, is chosen to lead a campaign through the area because of his prestigious military credentials. During the mission, tensions build between Leith and Brand, and the latter reveals himself to be a poor fit for the dangerous operation. The power struggle between the officers is only intensified when Brand learns that his wife once loved Leith”.  –  a chance to see a young Richard Burton in an early role.

Next a film set in both Brazil and San Francisco from 2000 : Woman on top : “Set to the intoxicating rhythms of Brazil, “Woman on Top” is a spicy, sexy comedy about the magic of food, love and music. Meet Isabella, a sultry enchantress born with the special gift of melting the palates and hearts of men everywhere. When she decides to break free from her rocky marriage, and the stifling kitchen of her husband’s restaurant in Brazil,  she spirits off to San Francisco in pursuit of her dreams of a real culinary career.   – Starring Penélope Cruz, it has a great soundtrack too.

Next we have Āsoka (2001) This movie traces the life of Emperor Āsoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya who ascended the throne of Magadha in the 3rd century B.C. To extend the borders of his kingdom, he wages one of the bloodiest wars in history with the neighboring kingdom of Kalinga, leaving it ravaged and devastated. Confronted by the aftermath of his conquest, Āsoka is overcome with remorse and renounces the path of war to dedicate his life to spreading the teachings of Buddhism. Starring  Shahrukh Khan as Asoka.

Then another film set in India from 1992- City of Joy – : Farmer Hasari Pal (Om Puri) moves his family to Calcutta to start a new life. Settling in the city’s poorest area (the “city of joy”), he finds Texan doctor Max (Patrick Swayze), who has been assaulted and robbed, lying in the street. Hasari takes him to his district, where the homeless and lepers live. Max becomes friends with Hasari and clinic doctor Joan (Pauline Collins), and Hasari gets a job as a rickshaw driver. Max soon plunges into his new life.

Yet another Foreign Indian addition is:  Earth -: The disaster of Indian/Pakistani partition in 1947, seen through the eyes of a child – Lenny, an eight-year-old crippled girl – from Lahore, the Punjabi city that saw some of the bloodiest pogroms. The experiences, hopes and fears of this young girl provide an intense portrait of the period. – Directed by Deepa Mehta.

Moving over to Europe, for the first time in a while, we are able to add Bernardo Bertolucci’s The conformist =: Conformista –from 1970: – “Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a member of the secret police in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. He and his new bride, Giulia (Stefania Sandrelli), travel to Paris for their honeymoon, where Marcello also plans to assassinate his former college professor Luca Quadri (Enzo Tarascio), an outspoken anti-Fascist living in exile. But when Marcello meets the professor’s young wife, Anna (Dominique Sanda), both his romantic and his political loyalties are tested.”

Photo by Grace Kusta Nasralla on

Next on our list is : Zachariah – from 1971. In this Western featuring rock music by such famous performers integrated into the cast as Country Joe and the Fish, Elvin Jones, the James Gang, and Cajun singer Doug Kershaw, Zachariah is an aspiring gunslinger who journeys from town to town, from one adventure to another, from affiliation with the West’s most inept gang of bandits to a shot at membership in the West’s toughest, from a life of quiet farming to a near-fatal confrontation with his best friend. This is a cult classic from the 70’s, often shown as a late night feature on college campuses then.

Then visiting Ancient Egypt we have: Land of the Pharaohs – 1955. Directed by Howard Hawks American Cinematheque has this to say about it: “This truly phenomenal CinemaScope fantasia of ancient Egypt features pharaoh Jack Hawkins, who is obsessed with building an eternal monument to his glory, while nympho wife Joan Collins (at her slinky, scheming best) tries to orchestrate his murder. -Stunning technical credits all around, with a script co-written by William Faulkner (!), and sumptuous art direction by the legendary Alexander Trauner. “When I first saw it as a kid, LAND OF THE PHAROAHS became my favorite film.” – Martin Scorsese

Going abroad again from Canada (2003) we added: My life without me– directed by Isabel Coixet and starring Sarah Polley, Mark Ruffalo, Scott Speedman, and Leonor Watling. A hard-working mother of two Ann (Sarah Polley) discovers she has terminal ovarian cancer and the doctors give her two months to live, she decides to keep the news from her family. ‘My life Without Me’ shows us how vulnerable we can be and how dramatically things can change when we take control of our lives. -Nominated for a Goya Award for Best Picture 2004.

Rounding our list out, we also added- The last metro =: Le dernier métro (1980) –directed by  François Truffaut – “A stylish and poignant film about Jewish director Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bennent), who is forced to hide in the basement of his theater during the Nazi occupation while his wife (Catherine Deneuve) stars in its latest production. Romantic tensions mount when she and her leading man (Gérard Depardieu) begin to fall in love with each other. At the same time, a pro-Nazi theater critic ensconces himself in the theater causing stress to the entire cast”–

We hope you find something new to view! Make sure you check out all the movies, television shows, and documentaries available through your Santa Fe Public Library.

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