Archive for December, 2009

Carlos Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy on DVD

Bodas de Sangre

Image from

Saura, Carlos (Director). (2007). Carlo’s Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy. United States: Criterion
Call Number: DVD-000923

Spanish film director Carlos Saura’s first film venture featuring Latin dance was Bodas de sangre [Blood Wedding].  This film also marked his first of three collaborations with famed flamenco dancer/choreographer Antonio Gades.  I highly recommend all three films.  Each film combines narrative, dance and refined filmmaking in an effort to explore life, love and death from a Spanish perspective.

The duo’s second film Carmen is my favorite of the three.  It’s the story of a choreographer staging a ballet adaptation of Bizet’s opera, Carmen.  So, it’s back stage drama intermingled with on stage drama and lots of dancing.  Gradually the lines of filmmaking, theater and ballet begin to blur as the characters real life narratives start to mimic the staged narrative.  By the end of the film you are not quite sure if you’re watching a rehearsal, or something that was supposed to have really happened.  The tobacco factory scene alone is worth the effort.  It’s an intensely orchestrated all girl knife fight in dance – think Michael Jackson’s Beat It, done flamenco style.

Michelle Melancon, Bindery Specialist (Baking with Medusa at Blogspot)

The Graveyard Book by Gaiman and The Amulet of Samarkand by Stroud

The Graveyard Book

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. New York: Harper Collins, 2008. ISBN: 9780060530921 Call Number: PZ7 .G1273 GR 2008

With finals starting soon now is an inopportune time for pleasure reading. But after finals during winter break, when your brain feels fried, might I suggest you refresh yourself through the power of modern fantasy novels?

First, Neil Gaiman’s Newbury Award winning The Graveyard Book. The book tells the story Nobody Owens, a child growing up in a graveyard raised the ghosts. The book is a superb fantasy tale that involves ghosts, ghouls, witches, President Harry Truman, and an international group of evil men. While the book remains largely episodic in nature, readers will feel right at home in the abnormal, yet familiar world.

The Amulet of Samarkand

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2003. ISBN: 078681859X Call Number; PZ7 .S92475 AM 2003

Next, journey to an England ruled by magicians that harness the power of spirits to maintain their rule over the common folk in Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand. The story begins with the magician’s apprentice Nathaniel summoning the snarky djinni Bartimaeus. Nathaniel wants to use Bartimaeus to get revenge on the high ranking Simon Lovelace for embarrassing him. The novel splits the narrative duties between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus as they realize the depth of political corruption these magicians are involved in. The novel is exciting and accessible with load of moral ambiguity, political power grabs, and off-beat sarcastic humor.

Brian Sullivan, Online Learning Librarian