by Barbara Whitener
British pop culture was just beginning to spread worldwide in 1963. The Beatles first album Please Please Me was released, James Bond was on the screen in From Russia with Love, The Avengers staring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg was on the television airwaves. This year also saw the beginning of Doctor Who a television program that The New Yorker calls “the most original science-fiction television series ever made.” Beginning as a British phenomenon, Doctor Who is now more popular than ever and has a worldwide following estimated at over 100 million.
What is the appeal of this 50 year old science fiction television show? The hallmark of Doctor Who is the humanity and compassion that pervades every episode. The Doctor and his companions care about all beings and believe that life is important and should be defended. Wrongs are addressed by the Doctor but rarely with violence. It is not unusual that when an enemy is brought down, the Doctor is there to comfort the dying villain. The Doctor is a Time Lord but no superhero. There is a vulnerability, sadness and solitary aspect to this time traveling alien. But above all there is in Doctor Who a sense of wonder and respect for the universe and its inhabitants and a hope that we will learn to understand ourselves and others better. The Doctor moves throughout the galaxy in time and space and during these travels we see mirrors of our own society.
Doctor Who like much of science fiction addresses issues we see daily in the newspaper headlines. It addresses war, genocide, terrorism, totalitarianism, race relations, diversity, equality, technology, family , responsibility, and as one article mentioned – a way to deal with the fears we face as a society. But lest we forget, there is also fun and adventure along the way.
What didn’t I get around to discussing? Doctor Who isn’t complete without knowing about the TARDIS, Daleks, the Cybermen, regeneration, and the sonic screwdriver. If you are a geek or just a Whovian, Ekstrom has many resources that will satisfy your longing to get to know The Doctor better.
Want to watch the episodes? Media has DVDs of the original series (1963-1989) including Doctor Who: The beginning. This consists of 3 serials with a total of 13 episodes. The rebooted series (2005-) 1-7, the Complete Specials, and The Next Doctor are available.
Articles? There are thousands of articles that run the gamut from popular magazine articles to serious academic studies. Interested in the history of Doctor Who? There are many articles that examine the television program including “The Man In The Box” , “Fifty Years in the TARDIS: The Historical Moments of Doctor Who” and “Revenge of the Geeks, Fifty Years of Doctor Who.” These and many more articles can be found in multiple databases including Google Scholar, EBSCO Academic Search Complete, ProQuest Direct. International Index to Performing Arts, Film & Television Literature Index, Humanities Index, MLA International Bibliography, Sociological Abstracts, PsycInfo, Business Source Premier, and Historical Abstracts.
Many books are available. You can pick up and read a Doctor Who novel such as Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter. Our holdings are not extensive so if the pickings too slim here in Ekstrom, try the Louisville Free Public Library, bookstores or Amazon. There are about 200 tie-in or spin-off novels that follow the voyages of The Doctor.
Non-fiction books about Doctor Who are numerous including Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. There are many general science fiction books and encyclopedias that cover the phenomena and history of Doctor Who. Two examples are: The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and The History of Science Fiction.
By Rosalinda Hernandez and Hannah Parks
Did you know that Ekstrom Library has over 1500 foreign language films? This collection represents 70 languages, from Albanian to Zulu. We asked some A&S faculty members for their favorite foreign language films, and here’s what they had to say.
Megan McDonough, Department of Humanities/Film Studies
“As with both books and film, it is hard to pick just one as favorite. However, I do love the Hindi film Jodhaa Akbar (2008). This film uses elaborate sets and costumes to bring to life the love story of Hindu princess Jodhaa and Muslim emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar. Like many Bollywood films, Jodhaa Akbar it has big dance numbers, dramatic fights, and famous actors. Yet, this films subtly deals with issues like religion and tolerance. Displaying the beauty of India in bright, rich colors, this is one of my favorite historical fiction films.”
Matthieu Dalle, Department of Classical and Modern Languages
“My favorite foreign film is Pierrot le fou by Jean-Luc Godard (1965). It marks the transition between Godard’s early (“New Wave”) phase and his more experimental, militant phase. And that is precisely why Pierrot le fou is a fascinating film. It retains a (loose) narrative structure and some of the New Wave filmic conventions, but it is eschews linearity and is primarily concerned with the potentialities of cinema.
In Pierrot le fou, Godard shows that not only can cinema encompass literature, poetry, painting, music, etc., cinema IS literature, poetry, painting, music, etc., all at the same time. Pierrot le fou is both universal and intimate: it tells us something about Godard and France in 1965, but it is also a commentary on the human condition.
After seeing Pierrot le fou, French poet Louis Aragon wrote, “art today is Jean-Luc Godard.” Close to fifty years later, I can’t be as categorical; I can’t even amend the statement to proclaim, “art is Pierrot le fou.” It is clear in my mind though that, along with Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and Joan Miro’s Blue I, II and III, Pierrot le fou is the purest work of art of the 20th century.”
If you’d like to further explore our foreign language films, you can visit our Foreign Language Guide. The guide lists all of the foreign language films in our collection, organized by language. You can check out these films at the Media Resources Desk, located in the East Wing of Ekstrom Library.
by Hannah Parks, Ekstrom Library Media Resources
Summer is such a wonderful season. Schedules aren’t so tight, the weather is (usually) sunny, and people seem to be in a better mood than they were during the winter. I love to spend the summer hiking and cycling, but I also enjoy the rainy days, when I have an excuse to stay inside and be lazy. I usually spend these lazy days watching television shows and reading. Once I finish a show’s series or a book, though, I find it difficult to find a new one to start. I usually look for suggestions from friends, which, regarding television shows, aren’t hard to find here in Media Resources.
For those of you who share the same difficulty as I do in finding new shows to watch, I’ve consulted with my fellow Media Resources experts, and we’ve come up with a definitive list of eleven great TV shows to watch this summer, all of which are available through our department’s SGA collection. I’ve limited them to recent shows (aired within the past year) and separated them into genres, in case you’re interested in a specific type of show. I’ve also included their parental ratings.
Need more suggestions? Stop by the Media Department and we’ll help you out!
Arrested Development TV-PG
How I Met Your Mother TV-PG
Breaking Bad TV-14
Walking Dead TV-14
Game of Thrones TV-MA
Venture Brothers TV-MA
Family Guy TV-14
What makes a city great? How are cities designed? Which comes first in city planning priorities: the person or the vehicle? These are some of the questions broached by Urbanized, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit.
A couple weeks ago I attended “Creating a Healthy, Vibrant Louisville,” one of the Sustainable City Series forums, and heard Gil Peñalosa speak about great transformative changes to cities. The Sustainable City Series was created by the University of Louisville’s Urban Design Studio to “raise the community’s awareness of better design practices for our built environment with a focus on moving our city and region towards a sustainable future.”
Peñalosa’s brother Enrique is one of the featured speakers in Urbanized. I really wanted to see the film, but the library didn’t have a copy. So I filled out the Order Recommendation Form and they got a copy!
The documentary takes the viewer around the world to see the successes and failures of cities in meeting the needs of their people. From bike lanes in Copenhagen to the streets of Bogotá, the documentary traces design decisions and the insightful programs that help turn dangerous or disconnected cities into one’s that thrive. The element that ties these programs together (or makes them fail, in its absence) is the focus on people. From a violent neighborhood in South Africa springs a safe walking zone. Government subsidies allow former slum dwellers in India to own and develop their own homes. And then there this heartbreaking story of planner-citizen disconnect in Stuttgart.
So whether you’re into design or urban planning or social change , I’d highly recommend this film.
Here’s a clip from the DVD’s extras to whet your appetite.
Urbanized is available in the Ekstrom Library SGA video collection.
Directed by Steve McQueen
by Ashley McKenzie
Michael Fassbender gives an amazing and heartbreaking performance as Bobby Sands, an imprisoned IRA member who initiates a hunger strike in the prison where he and his fellow members are being held. A bit draggy in the set up of the story, it eventually evolves into a fast paced journey of a man who does not believe in giving up without a fight. And fight he does, going three solid months without food, just for the right to be called a member of the Irish Republican Army—which the prison has been refusing to recognize. The cinematography is raw and uncensored, forcing you to observe the conditions these men went through during their inhabitation of the prison without leaving a gap large enough for your own interpretation. Even though it is up in your face, whether you’d like it there or not, Hunger has honesty. This is something oft forgotten once the movie is in actual production. You watch a man suffer, and he suffers for a cause in which he truly believes.
Steve McQueen hits all the marks to draw you into the plot and more than likely send you out crying because of his grasp on humanity. Hunger is dark and poetic. It’s miserable, yet brilliant and by the end you’ll find yourself pleading with the main character in hopes that he will finally eat something that is placed in front of him. As the outsider looking in, you question his morals and methods during his protest that lasts a grueling 66 days, and you wonder if you can say that it’s worth it or not. McQueen questions us as viewers, and that’s what makes for an intriguing plot of a movie that has the potential to be dry and leave us all wondering what we just spent the last hour and a half of our lives watching.
Whether it be horrifically burned into your brain or put onto your ‘watch again’ list, Hunger is a hard movie to forget.