The Long Island University Brooklyn Campus Library Media Center Newsletter 


We love movies, among other things.

March 2008, issue 31

"I remember as a child going around with Votes for Women balloons. I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause."  -- Katharine Hepburn [1907-2003]


March is Women's History Month


Frida (2002) d. Julie Taymor


Salma Hayek stars in this beautifully filmed biopic of twentieth century artist and icon, Frida Kahlo.  Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her strong portrayal of the fascinating Kahlo, who lived and loved with both Leon Trotsky and Diego Rivera, and worked bravely in the studio despite suffering intense physical pain throughout her life.  Director Julie Taymor's films [see also: Titus] are always a visual feast, and in Frida her sense of light and color evoke the strong sensibility of the painter and her times. [Whew, I made it through that short description without once mentioning the eyebrows, just like I promised mysel-- oh darn.] 



Girls got the Power


Whale Rider (2002), d. Nikki Caro; The Wizard of Oz (1939), d. Mervyn Leroy; Spirited Away (2002), d. Hayao Miyazaki; Pan's Labyrinth (2006), d. Guillermo del Toro


These four films all deal with the journey of a young girl and the archetypal hero's challenges she faces on the brink of growing up. Each film is also a visual feast as clear and rich as the oldest myth or fairy tale.


Whale Rider is the one film that is not a fantasy, although it is based in a world that is unfamiliar to Americans: the life of a Maori tribe in New Zealand, stepped in ritual, myth, and tradition.  Young Pai challenges the tradition of male succession in tribal leadership, secretly training in the arts of tribal leadership.


A film like The Wizard of Oz feels so familiar after all these years -- the songs, the witch, the flying monkeys, Toto, the twister, the munchkins, and of course the four friends on their search for the wizard -- that it can be hard to look at it objectively, and on its own considerable merits.  It's a hands-down great movie.  If you think about it, Dorothy Gale is a pretty tough kid on a quest, tolerating no nonsense, full of midwestern gumption and sporting them snazzy (yes, literally to-die-for. Ask the Wicked Witch of the East) shoes.  Yes, there may be no place like home, but the journey's the thing in this fairy tale. 


Anime legend Hayao Miyazaki is often called Japan's Walt Disney, so great has been his success as a feature film animator.  Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, and it is a quintessential Miyazaki fantasy, the story of a young girl trapped in a strange spirit world where she must fight to free herself and save her parents, full of bizarre creatures in a perfectly realized, dazzlingly inventive universe. 


The most recent of the four films is Pan's Labyrinth.  It is a dark fantasy on par with the Wizard of Oz and Spirited Away in the fresh strangeness of its vision and the completeness of its imagined world.  The story is split between Spain shortly after its civil war and the elaborate, magical garden labyrinth where the girl Ofelia must fulfill three tasks imposed on her by the mysterious faun. 


And while we're at it, don't forget Buffy the Vampire Slayer, natch. 



A Pioneer


The Hitch-Hiker (1953), d. Ida Lupino.


Solid character actress Ida Lupino was directing films in Hollywood when few women had ever done so.  This is my favorite of her films, a taut and tense psychological noir about an ill-fated fishing trip in Mexico, and it features one of the creepiest villains you'll ever see on screen. 



"I am yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I am sorrow, longing, and hope unfulfilled.  I am She Who Must Be Obeyed!"  --She, Queen Hash-A-Mo-Tep of Kor [Helen Gahagan], She [1935]

Past Issues of the BCLMC

New Titles in the Media Center

Library Homepage

Media Center


LIU Brooklyn Campus

In the Mix:  a random shuffle of some movies we've played recently in our Now Playing program. 

Other sites we like:

This issue of  BCLMC is brought to you all the way from the back row by Media Assistant Patrick Jewell, who's not afraid of getting in touch with his female side.  Tell your friends. 

The Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the Library Learning Center.  Come up and see us some time.


Questions?  Comments?  Contact us. 
Media Center Staff:
Andrea Slonosky,  Media Librarian  (718) 488-1311
Patrick Jewell,  Media Assistant  (718) 488-3392
Lisa Rivera,  Media Assistant  (718) 780-4378