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Filmography - Authors: Biographies, interviews and readings: Home

Titles on DVD and streaming video as of July 2012

Authors - Biographies, interviews and readings

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of July 2012. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on biology topics (including VHS tapes) keyword searches in the library catalog will be necessary: http://www.american.edu/library/mediaservices/index.cfm

 

Alaa Al Aswany. 2008.  1 streaming video file (29 min.). In the early years of his dental practice, Alaa Al Aswany had an office in Cairo's deteriorating Yacoubian Building-eventually turning his experiences there into a successful novel by the same title. This interview with the Egyptian author highlights his views on social issues affecting the Islamic world as well as his attitudes towards literature and the West. Guiding viewers through his favorite haunts, past and present, among the streets of Cairo, Al Aswany addresses several topics-including the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy, the damage caused by stereotypes, and the author's belief that dictatorship, not fundamentalism, is the diseasewhich Egypt and other Islamic nations must cure.  Streaming video
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Alejo Carpentier. 2006.  Five Latin American Authors Speak: Five Latin American authors speak.  1 streaming video file (91 min.). In his writings, Alejo Carpentier strove to incorporate "the marvelous," a version of reality that he maintained was indigenous to the Americas. In this program, the late author/musicologist elaborates on his Los pasos perdidos, El siglo de las luces, and Concierto barroco, while providing an understanding of the impact of surrealism and the influence of the Generation of '98 on his writing, the political atmosphere of Cuba, and his childhood in France. "I didn't speak anything but French in the house," says Carpentier, "but I always wrote in Castilian.  Streaming video
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Alvaro Cunqueiro Days of a storyteller. 2006.  Modern Literary Voices: Modern literary voices.  1 streaming video file (106 min.). Alvaro Cunqueiro is regarded as the undisputed master of Galician literature and the only Spanish writer to achieve recognition beyond the linguistic boundaries of Galicia. He was an extremely versatile author, trying virtually every genre-from medieval cantigas to literatura fantastica. This program uses a variety of interviews with Cunqueiro, archival footage, and the reminiscences of fellow writers and friends as vehicles for understanding the author's own particular brand of humor and subtle lyricism. His tales of magical universes and of memory, myth, and legend rank among the richest in Spanish literature.  Streaming video
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Amin Maalouf Building bridges between east and west. 2007.  1 streaming video file (30 min.). My role as a writer is to create positive myths, says Amin Maalouf. The Lebanese-born novelist and journalist also acknowledges "the material that history gives me." This program features conversations with Maalouf about his imaginative, historically grounded novels and his identity as a Christian Arab living in Paris. On-screen readings by the author present excerpts and themes from Leo Africanus, Rock of Tanios, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, and In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong. While Maalouf's views on recent Middle East conflicts reveal a degree of skepticism, the staging of Kaija Saariaho's opera L'amour de loin, for which Maalouf wrote the libretto, evokes his faith in the power of cross-cultural connections.  Streaming video
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Before night falls. 2001.  1 videodisc (134 min.). A look at the life of Reinaldo Arenas, from childhood in Cuba to his death in New York City. His writings and homosexuality get him in trouble with Castro's Cuba and he spends two years in prison before leaving for the United States.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 486

Bloomsday cabaret A celebration of James Joyce. 2004.  1 streaming video file (49 min.). To understand the lyricism and rhythmic quality of James Joyce's work, take a stroll through the music-filled streets of Dublin-made possible by this charming and informative program. Set on Bloomsday 2004,the 100th anniversary of Leopold Bloom's fictional excursion, the video immerses viewers in turn-of-the-century Dublin, popular Irish tunes of the era, and the various ways in which Joyce incorporated them into Ulysses, The Dead,and other works. Exquisite reenactments and interviews with literary scholars illuminate the complex relationship between Joycean prose and the author's profound sensitivity to the joys and heartaches in a good song.  Streaming video
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The Brontë sisters A concise biography. 2005.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series introduces the rich imaginative life of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, exposed to the world of literature by their father Patrick Brontë priest, examiner, and writer. The family struggled with poverty, and the family home Haworth and moorland provided inspiration for the daughters. Charlotte and Emily were educated at Cowan Bridge School, later the inspiration for Charlotte's Jane Eyre, until their father could no longer ignore the mistreatment they suffered there. Afterward, the Brontë daughters pursued education at home, where they had access to literature, contemporary art, newspapers, and magazines. When their father got sick, the sisters tried to earn a living, but all the girls struggled with the stifling loss of freedom of being a teacher, student, or governess, and Emily returned to Haworth quickly. After years of trying to live as governesses, the three set out to open their own school.  Streaming video
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Capote. 2006.  1 videodisc (114 min.). In 1959, Truman Capote was a popular writer for The New Yorker. He learns about the horrific and senseless murder of a family of four in Halcomb, Kansas. Inspired by the story, Capote and his partner, Harper Lee, travel to the town to do research for an article. However, as Capote digs deeper into the story, he is inspired to expand the project into what would be his greatest work, "In Cold Blood." He arranges extensive interviews with the prisoners, especially with Perry Smith. However, his feelings of compassion for Perry conflicts with his need for closure for his book which only an execution can provide. That conflict and the mixed motives for both interviewer and subject make for a troubling experience that would produce an literary account that would redefine modern non-fiction.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1918

Cervantes and the Legend of Don Quijote The spirit of a book. 2004.  1 streaming video file (56 min.). Featuring film clips, reenactments, and dramatizations, this program examines the imperishable spirit of Don Quijote through the life of Cervantes and the literary masterpiece that bears Quijote's name. Topics range from the place of Don Quijote in world literature and its influence on later writers, to autobiographical parallels between Quijote and Cervantes, to the universal qualities of Quijote and Sancho Panza, to the eternal search for utopia. Commentary by Gunter Grass, Jose Saramago, Mario Vargas Llosa, and other authors and professors adds academic authority. Not available in French-speaking Canada. An RTVE Production.  Streaming video
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Charles Bowden, Reading, 15 December 2010. 2010.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (50 min.). Charles Bowden is the author of eleven books including A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior; Down By the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family; Juâarez: The Laboratory of our Future; and Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America. His most recent book is Murder City: Ciudad Juâarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields. In this book, he presents a devastating chronicle of a city in collapse where not just the police and drug cartel members die as violence infects every level of society. Luâis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway, says "...in Murder City Bowden plunges in head-first, without a parachute. There are moments when the book threatens to burst into flames and burn your hands." Bowden is a contributing editor for GQ and Mother Jones, and also writes for Harpe's, The New York Times Book Review, and Aperture. Winner of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/21265711

 

Charles Bowden with Avi Lewis, Conversation, 15 December 2010. 2010.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (27 min.). Charles Bowden is the author of eleven books including A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior; Down By the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family; Juâarez: The Laboratory of our Future; and Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America. His most recent book is Murder City: Ciudad Juâarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields. In this book, he presents a devastating chronicle of a city in collapse where not just the police and drug cartel members die as violence infects every level of society. Luâis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway, says "...in Murder City Bowden plunges in head-first, without a parachute. There are moments when the book threatens to burst into flames and burn your hands." Bowden is a contributing editor for GQ and Mother Jones, and also writes for Harpe's, The New York Times Book Review, and Aperture. Winner of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/21265719

 

Charles Dickens A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (37 min.). This overview of Charles Dickensâ ™ life and work from the Famous Authors series discusses the authorâ ™s happy childhood, during which he was close to his father and went to school. However, financial troubles later forced the family to move to London, and Dickens began absorbing the bustling city couched in fog where his novels would be set. Due to his fatherâ ™s debt, he could no longer attend school but rather worked in a factory while his family was in debtorâ ™s prison. The contrast between his younger years and this experience of poverty marked his fiction forever. Eventually Dickens was able to return to school and become a law reporter, and he grew to dislike law and satirize it. The success of The Pickwick Papers started his life as a popular, successful public figure, and he proceeded to work hard on serials, novels, theatrical endeavors, and editing magazines throughout his life.  Streaming video
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Cheating the stillness the world of Julia Peterkin. 2010.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (58 min.). Cheating the Stillness: The World of Julia Peterkin chronicles the life of a remarkable woman who rebelled against what was expected of a Southern woman in the early part of the 20th century. As a young woman, Peterkin had married and moved to Lang Syne in South Carolina, a 1500-acre plantation in the South Carolina midlands where 400 black workers farmed cotton. At age 40, she began writing startling tales about these struggling black families and their Gullah culture. This was in the nineteen-twenties, the era of Jim Crow, but also of the Harlem Renaissance. These touchstones are brought to life in the film through dramatizations of Peterkin s literature, haunting images of the South Carolina countryside, evocative archival photographs, and through interviews with writers, scholars and those who knew the writer in her later years. Peterkin persistently sent samples of her writing to the critic H.L. Mencken. He introduced her work to the literary world, and in 1924 Alfred Knopf published her first book Green Thursday. The novel met with critical acclaim, and some wondered if the author was black or white. W. E. B. DuBois described her as a Southern white woman who had "... the eye and the ear to see beauty and to know truth." Her third novel, Scarlet Sister Mary, won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The gritty tale of a fiercely independent single mother set in a South Carolina black farming community was a bestseller at a time when American readers - white or black - were ostensibly not interested in rural African American life. With fame came a double life, as a sought-after writer at New York cultural events and as the plantation mistress who many in South Carolina felt had betrayed her race, class and gender. She felt she had to choose between these two radically different worlds, and the choice she made tells much about what it meant to be black or white, male or female, in 20th century America.  Streaming video
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Reading, 28 Sept 2011. 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos .  1 streaming video file (43 min.). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reads from her work on September 28, 2011.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/29896826

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Binyavanga Wainaina, Conversation, 28 Sept 2011. 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (27 min.). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is interviewed by Binyavanga Wainaina on September 28, 2011.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/29896793

 

Conversation The Delany sisters. 94.  1 streaming video file (11 min.). In this classic interview with NewsHour correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Having Our Say authors Sarah and Bessie Delany discuss the trials and triumphs of their first 100 years. Their subjects include life in the South for African-Americans in the early 20th century, coping with the implementation of the Jim Crow laws, and bigotry in the North. Bessie touches on what it was like to grow up with a father who recalled slavery and the arrival of freedom after the Confederate surrender. Sarah tells how, as a young woman, she defended herself against a drunk white man at a Georgia train station and how she found ways around the institutionalized racism in New York City's education system.  Streaming video
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Czeslaw Milosz, Reading, March 26 1998. 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (43 min.). "Czeslaw Milosz, born in Lithuania in 1911, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Mr. Milosz worked for the Resistance in Warsaw during World War II, editing anti-Nazi books and pamphlets. He has published 21 books of poetry since his first, A Poem on Frozen Time, appeared in 1933. English translations of his poetry include The Separate Notebooks, Unattainable Earth, Collected Poems 1931-1987, and Facing the River. He has also written two novels and sixteen nonfiction books, including The Captive Mind and Native Realm. Mr. Milosz read on March 26, 1998.".  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/11148794

 

Czeslaw Milosz with Helen Vendler, Conversation, March 26 1998. 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (34 min.). "Czeslaw Milosz, born in Lithuania in 1911, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Mr. Milosz worked for the Resistance in Warsaw during World War II, editing anti-Nazi books and pamphlets. He has published 21 books of poetry since his first, A Poem on Frozen Time, appeared in 1933. English translations of his poetry include The Separate Notebooks, Unattainable Earth, Collected Poems 1931-1987, and Facing the River. He has also written two novels and sixteen nonfiction books, including The Captive Mind and Native Realm. Mr. Milosz read on March 26, 1998.". He is interviewed by Helen Vendler.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/11148828

 

D. H. Lawrence. 96.  1 streaming video file (53 min.). Certainly one of the most colorful and controversial writers of the 20th century, D. H. Lawrence's humble beginnings as a fragile child in a Nottingham mining town hardly foreshadowed the fame he would acquire through his writing. In this program, Lawrence biographer John Worthen and others who knew the writer discuss the author's life, his many love affairs, and his turbulent marriage to his wife, Frieda. A dramatization of scenes from the 1960 obscenity trial over the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover features passages from the novel. Actress Glenda Jackson discusses Sons and Lovers and The Rainbow within the context of Lawrence's purported disdain for women. The program contains some profanity and should be previewed before being shown to students. A BBC Production.  Streaming video
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D. H. Lawrence A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (36 min.). In this overview of D.H. Lawrence's life and work from the Famous Authors series, viewers are introduced to the conditions of the mining town in England in which Lawrence was born and to his relationship with his mother, both which reappear in Sons and Lovers and his other fiction. The film follows Lawrence and his wife Frieda through their many moves, the inspiration he gained from their travels, their struggles with money, literary success, the public scandal of censorship trials, and political scrutiny.  Streaming video
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Edgar Allan Poe A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (36 min.). In this introduction to Edgar Allan Poe's life and work from the Famous Authors series, the viewers follow Poe's early life and fortunate adoption by the Allans. Poe's relationship with Frances Allan was tender, but he and John Allan did not get along. His stepfather sent him away to university and then cut him off completely. In response, Poe went to Boston and joined the army, but persisted writing. Eventually being dismissed from West Point, he went to live with Poe relatives in Baltimore and continue his writing and publishing. There he fell in love with his young cousin Virginia and brought her to Richmond, Virginia and later to New York and Philadelphia, to live with him throughout his literary ups and downs.  Streaming video
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Eduardo Galeano, Reading, 3 November 2000. 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (29 min.). Eduardo Galeano, born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1940 is an essayist, journalist, historian, and activist. Galeano's books include the trilogy Memory of Fire; The Book of Embraces; We Say No; and Walking Words. Galeano reads from his works on November 3, 2000.  Streaming video
http://vimeo.com/12062512

 

El otro Francisco The other Francisco. 198.  1 videodisc (100 min.). Pseudo-documentary film that contrasts the romantic conceptions of plantation life found in SuaÌrez Romero's novel with a realistic expose of the actual historical conditions of slavery throughout the Americas. Offers a critical analysis of the novel, showing how the author's social background led to his use of particular dramatic structures to convey his liberal, humanitarian viewpoint.  DVD 9510

Emile Zola A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (37 min.). In this program from the Famous Authors series, the audience is offered an overview of the life and work of Emile Zola, starting with an introduction to the writer's parents and his important boyhood friendship with Paul Cezanne. The film discusses Zola's attachment to themes of nature and liberty. Eventually he was hired by the French publisher Hachette and began gaining social and literary success in Paris. The program also discusses the Dreyfus Affair, in which Zola courageously and publicly defended a Jewish military officer wrongly accused of treason.  Streaming video
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Emily Dickinson A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (32 min.). This overview of the life and literature of Emily Dickinson from the Famous Authors series offers an insight into the reclusive author of 1,775 poems and a valuable collection of letters. The video depicts Dickinson's story as that of an individual in a society that smothers individuality and discusses the struggle of a female poet among male contemporaries. She did, however, know of and admire women writers like George Eliot and the Bronte sisters. She read avidly, and the video discusses the strong influence Shakespeare's work had on her. Dickinson lived next door to her closest friends, her brother Austin and his wife Susan Gilbert in the family house, The Homestead, in Amherst, Massachusetts, a place still influenced by the puritanical tradition of practicality, work ethic, and faith at the time, and despite her reclusive reputation did have other meaningful friendships and correspondences.  Streaming video
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Ernest Hemingway A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (35 min.). This overview of the biography and writing of Ernest Hemingway from the Famous Authors series follows the young Hemingway from his boyhood home in Illinois to his start as a reporter in Kansas, which quickly led him to jobs as a reporter and an ambulance driver in WWI. Known for his minimalist style and the depiction of the 'lost generation' in The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's experiences in WWI, his time as an expatriate in intellectual Paris and in Spain, and his love of bull-fighting are depicted in the film and clearly connected to the themes in his novels and short stories.  Streaming video
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Ernest Hemingway Rivers to the sea. 2005.  1 streaming video file (90 min.). Decades after his death, Ernest Hemingway is still one of the most widely studied American authors. His major works are still in print-some in as many as 20 languages-including The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. It is the art of Hemingway's storytelling that forms the heart of this program from the American Masters series, the point of departure from which Hemingway's life and writing are explored. His distinctive prose style and profound influence on the novel are indisputable, and his larger-than-life persona is still the stuff of speculation and debate. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (90 minutes).  Streaming video
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Eugene O’Neill A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). In this introduction to Eugene O'Neill's life and work from the Famous Authors series, viewers are given a close look at O'Neill's theatrical family and mother who developed a morphine addiction. He struggled with this and his renouncement of Catholicism, a blow to his Irish parents, and escaped into reading voraciously. He went to Princeton, but was unfocused and left for a life of drinking and revelry. Finally he began writing, and eventually took a playwriting class at Harvard, later having his plays performed by the Provincetown Players and leading to his success.  Streaming video
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Every child is born a poet The life & work of Piri Thomas. 2003.  1 videodisc (59 min.). Through poetry, stories, and performance, Piri Thomas, author of the autobiographical novel Down these mean streets, looks back on his life as the son of Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants, recounting his childhood in New York during the Great Depression, his membership in barrio youth gangs, his struggle with his mixed-race identity, his life as a heroin addict and armed robber, his six years in prison, and his emergence as a writer and educator. The film explores Thomas' utilization of creative expression as a means of confronting poverty, racism, violence and isolation.  DVD 5621

F. Scott Fitzgerald A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). This overview of the biography and writing of F. Scott Fitzgerald from the Famous Authors series traces Fitzgerald’s life and influences from his birth in St. Paul, Minnesota, to his university days at Princeton and literary celebrity and frivolity in New York, to his status as social purveyor of modernists in Paris, and his tumultuous marriage to the talented but troubled Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and following alcoholic spiral.  Streaming video
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Franz Kafka A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (34 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series takes a close look at the life and literature of Franz Kafka. Contextualizing Kafka's upbringing in turn-of the-century Prague, the video illuminates how the politics of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and coming from a Jewish family shaped his life. Young friends Hugo Bergmann and Oskar Pollak were important influences and the first readers for the young writer. The dull but depressing nature of Kafka's office job and the political systems of the time resulted in the themes of surreal loss of individuality that he is so known for in stories like The Metamorphoses.  Streaming video
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