What We’re Watching: At Eternity’s Gate

At Eternity's Gate DVD cover
Available at Main Campus Library: PN 1997.2 .A8 2019

This movie was watched by Julie Humphrey, Library Director.

Title: At Eternity’s Gate

Director: Julian Schnabel

Genre: Drama

Why did you choose to watch this movie?

I liked one of the director’s previous films (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and I wanted to learn more about Vincent Van Gogh. Willem Dafoe was nominated for a best actor academy award for this role and I really like his acting and I enjoy biopics.

What did you like about it?

It was a fascinating and vivid portrait of the artist later in his life, during his time in Arles, Southern France.  It wasn’t a traditional biography chronicling his entire life, but instead just exploring the short time he lived and worked in Arles. His friend, painter Paul Gauguin, comes to live and work with him for a while and I didn’t know about their intense relationship. It’s a beautiful film and setting with outstanding acting, but not a lot happens.  It’s more of a meditation on Van Gogh as an artist, what his days are like, his artistic process and vision.

Did it remind you of any other movies?

Other artist biopics like Frida, starring Selma Hayek as Frida Kahlo and Pollock, starring Ed Harris as Jackson Pollock. I now also want to watch Schabel’s 1996 film Basquiat, about NY painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

Was there anything noteworthy about the movie?

Watching this film, really felt being inside Van Gogh’s mind. Viewers experiences the agony and torture of mental illness. Also, Dafoe looks remarkably like Vincent Van Gogh even though Dafoe is actually about 30 years older than Vincent is in the film! Vincent’s famous “ear incident” is also depicted.  I never really knew the story behind it.

Who would you recommend the movie to?

Anyone who appreciates art, artists, or art history, fans of biography, anyone interested in exploring mental illness through film.

What would you pair this movie with?

Books of Van Gogh’s drawings, paintings, and letters.

Vincent by himself book cover
Vincent by himself: A selection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings together with extracts from his letters, N 6953 .G63 A3 1985
Van Gogh Library of Great Painters book cover
Van Gogh (Library of Great Painters), ND 653 .G7 S386 1994

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Streaming Video from Films on Demand

Althea Gibson was a trailblazing African-American tennis player, who crossed the color line of international tennis in the 1950’s.

March is Women’s History Month and a great time to celebrate women in history. Explore the film above or those below and visit Films on Demand for more films and clips. Films or shorter film segments can be easily embedded into Sakai course sites. Explore the following videos to learn about fascinating and important women in history:

Dolores Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who advocated for the rights and wages of American farm workers. View Born-Again Feminist: Dolores Huerta.”

Margaret Sanger devoted her life to legalizing birth control and making it universally available for women throughout the early 1900’s. View “Margaret Sanger.” 

Gloria Steinem is a social activist, writer, editor, and champion of women’s rights since the late 1960s.View “Gloria: In Her Own Words.”

Makers: Women Who Make America Series is a 3-part series which tells the story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy in the last 50 years. ViewMakers: Women Who Make America Series.”

Films on Demand New Titles: U.S. Elections, Chernobyl and Other Topics

Through NC LIVE the Durham Tech library offers Films on Demand, which is a collection of almost 30,000 award winning documentaries, interviews, instructional and vocational training videos, historical speeches and newsreels.

This collection of video resources is updated regularly. September brought 164 new titles, many of which cover U.S. elections. Other topics in the September additions include energy and the environment, terrorism, human rights, medicine, space exploration and numerous other topics. Continue Reading →

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

During the month of June, LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each year in memory of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were one of the key events of the  Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. The Library of Congress honors LGBT pride month and their “collections contain many books, posters, sound recordings, manuscripts and other resources produced by, about and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.” Explore the Library of Congress LGBT Audio and Video collections.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger) Image from www.msnbc.com

(AP Photo/Noah Berger) Image from www.msnbc.com

Films on Demand also features an excellent collection of films about the Gay Liberation Movement and LGBT history and culture.

You can also locate many books and DVDs in our library collection in support of LGBT Pride Month.







Forum on Women in Leadership

The U.S. National Archives, in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is producing a forum on women in leadership online. Watch the forum live here or on their YouTube channel today at 7:30pm, or stream it afterwards when you have time. The description of the forum is below.

“From the early days of the Civil Rights movement, African American women have worked and served in numerous and influential leadership roles. What are their experiences and what changes have taken place in their opportunities, expectations, responsibilities, and obstacles?

A panel discusses their personal journeys and the advice they would offer to young women in the struggle for equality.

Melissa V. Harris-Perry, host on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, and author of “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America” will moderate the panel.  Panelists include Joyce Ladner, sociologist and civil rights activist; Avis Jones De-Weever, Exceptional Leadership Strategist and immediate past executive director of NCNW; Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Charlene A. Carruthers, national director, Black Youth Project 100.”


Films for African American History Month

Celebrate Black History Month by watching an inspirational film! The following films are available for viewing online through the library’s Films on Demand streaming video collection.  Click on the blue titles below for access.  There are more than 150  films for African American History available through Films on Demand and the library has many DVDs for check out too.

Eyes on the Prize film cover

Eyes on the Prize

Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous awards, Eyes on the Prize, is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America. The 14-part series recounts the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation.

February One

On February 1st, 1960, four men dressed in their Sunday best sat down at a lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. but were refused service because of the color of their skin. In this inspiring documentary, the Greensboro Four themselves tell the story of the lunch counter sit-in that revitalized the civil rights movement and established a model of student activism for the coming decade.

Filling the Gap: A Forgotten Chapter of American History

Robert Smalls, Phyllis Wheatley, Elizabeth Keckley, Benjamin Banneker, and countless others of African descent who helped to build the American nation are profiled in this film. This film offers a wealth of dramatized narratives, from the remarkable story of Abdul Rahman Ibrahima, the African prince sold into slavery on a Mississippi plantation, to the White House meeting in which Frederick Douglass urged President Lincoln to uphold the honor and dignity of the Union’s black soldiers, each segment reenacts a pivotal moment in history.

Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a household name in black America during much of her lifetime (1863-1931). This film is a stirring biography of a crusading journalist, anti-lynching campaigner, and black suffragette during the most repressive years of the Jim Crow period. It documents the dramatic life and turbulent times of the pioneering African-American woman during the post-Reconstruction period.

Tuskegee Airmen: They Fought Two Wars

This inspiring documentary examines the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps—the Tuskegee Airmen. These 450 black men fought the Nazis in World War II and, back in America, they fought prejudice, bigotry, and racism. Extraordinary airmen, they remain today the only fighter group never to have lost one of their bombers to enemy fire. Trained by the segregated military system, their successes led to the integration of the United States armed forces.

New Resource: Films on Demand Streaming Video Collection

Films on Demand logo

Films On Demand is a streaming video platform that features high quality educational video content.  The collection includes more than 20,000 films and is constantly growing!  The collections include award winning documentaries, instructional and vocational training videos, interviews, archival primary source materials, historical speeches, newsreels, and videos aligned with college curriculum. Subjects include automotive, business, economics, health, medicine, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, and vocational trades. Also included are travel and fitness programming, how-to videos, and popular music and dance performances.

Some of the benefits and key features of the platform include:

  • Films are segmented into easy-to-use clips
  • Powerful browse & search tools
  • Ability to share, save, and organize videos and custom playlists
  • Closed-captioning and transcripts on thousands of titles
  • HTML embed code that allows direct access to videos from Sakai
  • Email alerts can be set up under preferences for a particular subject or discipline when new content is added
  • Citation options
  • iPad friendly

Explore Films on Demand today!  Create a free account to get started.  Let the library staff know if you have any questions.  The helpful user’s guide will orient you to this new resource.

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