West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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New Biographies (Movies)

Check out these DVDs to learn more about the lives of incredible people, from Agatha Christie to John Lewis.

Mean man : the story of Chris Holmes

"From iconic rock star to construction worker, Chris Holmes has lived a life of highs and lows. After losing publishing rights of his songs and combating dangerous addictions, the legendary W.A.S.P. guitarist is shown starting over from scratch while living in Cannes, France as he puts together, with his wife Cathering-Sarah, a brand new band and a brand new musical role as not only the main guitarist, but now the actual lead singer of this newly-born musical project aptly named Mean Man." --container

Ken Burns : here & there

A rare look at the over four-decade intimate relationship Ken Burns has with his America and beloved community of Walpole, NH, and the importance that a "sense of place" and belonging has in one's life. That the essential American fabric of patriotism and goodness are woven through each of us, and often, the road less traveled is a good decision

The judge : character, cases, courage

Explores the life and career of American district court judge Robert R. Merhige

Agatha Christie : inside the mind of Agatha Christie & Agatha Christie's England

Inside The Mind of Agatha Chirstie - Agatha Christie ranks as one of the most successful writers of all time. Combining rare access to Christie₂s family and her personal archive, the show gives viewers a never-before-seen look into the late crime writer₂s fascinating life story. Agatha Christie's England - retraces the celebrated English writer₂s footsteps across the United Kingdom. With access to both her family and those who lived with her and knew her best

Ruth : Justice Ginsburg in her own words

Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in her own Words tells the improbable story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who couldn't get a job despite graduating first in her law school class in a tie and making Law Review at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. It also reveals both the public and private sides of a resilient, resourceful woman who has survived the hostility of the profoundly male universe of government and law to become a revered Justice and icon for gender equality and women's rights

Crock of gold : a few rounds with Shane MacGowan

A celebration of Irish punk poet Shane MacGowan, composer and lead singer with The Pogues, combining unpublished archive footage and family footage with animation

Margaret Atwood : a word after a word after a word is power

The film explores Atwood's 'backstory,' her early days in the Canadian wilderness and as a poet. Atwood's novels are explored, including her latest, The Testaments, the highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. Personal stories are shared by friends, family, and, of course, directly by Atwood herself

Diving deep : the life and times of Mike deGruy

Looks at the life of explorer, cinematographer, and environmentalist, Mike deGruy, who died in a helicopter crash at the age of sixty


Documentary about the life of Billie Holiday, directed by James Erskine


"With unfettered access to the Zappa Vault and all its archival footage, ZAPPA explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter's assembly features appearances by Frank's widow Gail Zappa and sever of Frank's musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others."--container


It tells the fascinating story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the groundbreaking cryptanalyst whose painstaking work decoding thousands of messages for the U.S. government would send infamous gangsters to prison and bring down a massive, near-invisible Nazi spy ring in WWII. A suburban wife and mother who led a secret double life, her remarkable contributions to the science of cryptology would only come to light decades after her death when classified government files were unsealed. But together with her husband, the legendary cryptologist William Friedman, Elizebeth helped develop the codebreaking methods that led to the creation of the powerful new science of cryptology and laid the foundation for modern codebreaking today

Laura Ingalls Wilder : prairie to page

An unvarnished look at the unlikely author whose autobiographical fiction helped shape American ideas of the frontier and self-reliance. A Midwestern farm woman who published her first novel at age 65, Laura Ingalls Wilder transformed her frontier childhood into the best-selling Little House series

The last Dalai Lama? .

"His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has transformed spirituality, neuroscience, and education by adapting ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices for a secular world. Micket Lemie artfully updates his 1995 Compassion in Exile with this intimate look at the good humor and enduring wisdom of His Holiness, now 81." --container

Milford Graves : full mantis

A feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in jazz. Oscillating from present to past and weaving intimate glimpses of the artist2s complex cosmology with performances from around the globe, this is cinema full of fluidity, polyrhythm, and intensity, embodying the essence of Graves2 music itself

Garth Brooks : the road I'm on

"Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist of all time, is celebrated in this definitive documentary...that offers an intimate look at Brooks's life as a musician, father, and man. Featuring revealing interviews with Trisha Yearwood, Billy Joel, Keith Urban, George Strait, James Taylor, and many others from Brook's personal and musical family, Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On Fans will delight fans with seminal hit songs and the unforgettable moments that have defined his decade-spanning career." --container

Helmut Newton : the bad and the beautiful

Women were clearly at the core of legendary photographer Helmut Newton's work. The stars of his iconic portraits and fashion editorials, from Catherine Deneuve to Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling to Isabella Rossellini, finally give their own interpretation of the life and work of this controversial genius. A portrait by the portrayed. Provocative, unconventional, subversive, his depiction of women still sparks the question: were they subjects or objects?

Mystify : Michael Hutchence

A look at the troubled heart and soul of Michael Hutchence, lead singer and songwriter of INXS. Deftly woven from an archive of rich imagery, Michael's private home movies and those of his lovers, friends, and family

Creating a character : Moni Yakim legacy

With interviews with Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, and Kevin Kline, this is a compelling portrait of the master teacher at Juilliard, America's greatest performing arts school, Moni Yakim. The sole remaining founder of the school's legendary Drama Division takes viewers inside the drama classes where Moni and his wife Mina pour their love and passion into preparing the next generation of actors for the spotlight


It is a poetic documentary of one of the world₂s most prolific living artists, Fernando Botero. Born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932 to a poor family, Botero witnessed the death of his father at an early age and experienced a violent and tumultuous political landscape in his youth during the Colombian civil war which has a profound impact on his art and humanitarianism. Botero would go on to face struggle and tragedy before his art captured the world's attention

Becoming "Leslie" : a film about Leslie Cochran "Queen of Austin"

"Become 'Leslie' reveals the inner and bizarre world of Albert Leslie Cochran, a rebellious, cross-dressing homeless man who became the most unlikely civic symbol of Austin, Texas. Told with unapologetic humor, the film chronicles the steady career of a misfit turned a cultural icon while he searches for love, purpose, and a true sense of home. Through Leslie, one man's efforts to preserve his own identity are paralleled with the collective struggle of a rapidly changing city." --container

Harry Chapin : when in doubt, do something

The inspiring story of Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Harry Chapin. Chapin sold over sixteen million albums and was one of his generation's most beloved artists and activists who spent his fame and fortune trying to end world hunger before his tragic passing. The film features a myriad of other performers intimately reflecting on Chapin2s larger-than-life impact on music and the world

Jimmy Carter : rock & roll President

If it hadn₂t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. This documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others


Profiles Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel

Gordon Lightfoot : if you could read my mind

An exploration of the career, music, and influence of legendary Canadian musical icon Gordon Lightfoot. With unprecedented access to the artist, the documentary follows Lightfoot's evolution from Christian choirboy to troubled troubadour to international star and beloved Canadian icon

John Lewis : good trouble

Using interviews and rare archival footage, this chronicles Lewis's 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, it explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family, and his meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. It also includes interviews with political leaders, colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life

Summoned : Frances Perkins and the general welfare

In the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins as US Secretary of Labor, the first woman to sit on a presidential cabinet. Against overwhelming odds, she became a driving force behind the New Deal social safety net, including Social Security, the 40-hour workweek, the 8-hour day, minimum wage, and unemployment compensation. Featuring compelling interviews with David Brooks, Nancy Pelosi, Amy Klobuchar, Lawrence O'Donnell, and others

Verrocchio : sculptor and painter of Renaissance Florence

Explores the work of Italian Renaissance artist, Andrea del Verrocchio

My father, the spy

Follows Ieva Lešinska as she explores the story of her father, Imants Lešinskis, who was a double agent for the CIA and KGB during the Cold War

The ghost of Peter Sellers

Peter Medak reflects on the disastrous experience he had as a young director of his friend Peter Sellers's pirate comedy film


Looks at the career of dancer and choreographer, Merce Cunningham

The times of Bill Cunningham

A documentary about legendary photographer Bill Cunningham features photographs chosen from over three million previously unpublicized images and documents from the iconic street photographer and fashion historian. Told in Cunningham's own words from a 1994 interview, the photographer chronicles moonlighting as a milliner in France during the Korean War, his unique relationship with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, his four decades at The New York Times and his democratic view of fashion and society

All I can say

The intimate video diary of Shannon Hoon, the late lead singer of alt-rock band Blind Melon

Sidemen : long road to glory

It is an intimate look at the lives and legacies of three legendary Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf sidemen

Mr. Tornado : one man's pursuit to understand the deadliest storms

"The Super Outbreak of 1974 was the most intense tornado outbreak on record, tearing a vicious path of destruction across thirteen states, generating 148 tornadoes from Alabama to Ontario, damaging thousands of homes, and killing more than 300 people. Meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore 'Ted' Fujita spent ten months studying the outbreak's aftermath in the most extensive aerial tornado study ever conducted, and through detailed mapping and leaps of scientific imagination, made a series of meteorological breakthroughs. His discovery of 'microbursts,' sudden high wind patterns that could cause airplanes to drop from the sky without warning, transformed aviation safety and saved untold numbers of lives. Mr. Tornado is the remarkable story of the man whose groundbreaking work in research and applied science saved thousands of lives and helped Americans prepare for and respond to dangerous weather phenomena." --container

Jane Goodall : the hope

Follows scientist, inspirational activist, and leader, Jane Goodall, as she spreads a message of hope throughout her travels

Betty Davis : they say I'm different

Profiles the life and career of funk vocalist Betty Davis with a blend of documentary and animation

My life with Rosie

The documentary examines the relationship between the civil right legend Rosa Parks and Carolyn Green and discusses Green's quest to continue her cousin's legacy of black activism in America

Celebration . : Yves Saint Laurent, the final show

A fascinating intimate portrait of Yves Saint Laurent in his twilight years. The film takes viewers behind the scenes of the fabled fashion house and the couturier's complex relationship with business partner, and former lover, Pierre Berge. Banned following its 2007 release, the film is finally available for the first time in over ten years
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