Thursday, December 11, 2014

Better than Fiction

Yesterday I blogged about spending some time reflecting on your semester of learning. The importance of stepping away from the textbooks and opting instead to engage with the information in another mode got me thinking about our amazing nonfiction DVD collection. I know watching nonfiction dvds sounds like a threatening way to ruin some non academic fun time, but believe me some of these documentaries are inspiring, beautiful and riveting!
I thought I would list a few of my favorites here that I really think could enhance your exam week. They are guaranteed to provide some much needed relaxation AND scaffold your knowledge base in certain subject areas. Enjoy and Good Luck with your studies!


Dirt! The Movie

dirt! The Movie–narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis–brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.
But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT! The Movie is a call to action. “When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked.”
How can you affect that relationship for the better? (


Girl Rising

Girl Rising tells the stories of nine girls from nine countries: (Sierra Leone, Haiti, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Peru, Egypt, Nepal, India and Cambodia). Each girl had her story written by a writer from her country and voiced by renowned actors. Their stories reflect their struggles to overcome societal or cultural barriers. (

The Botany of Desire

The Botany of Desire

They are four of the most ordinary plants. We've always had this idea that we are in charge, but what if, in fact, they have been modeling us? We don't give enough recognition to plants. They have been laboring on us, and they've been utilizing us for their own goals. There are four plants that have walked the road to accomplishment by fulfilling human ambitions - the tulip, marijuana, the potato and  the apple. The Botany of Desire allows us to look at our connection to domesticated plants from the plants' perspective. Of course, plants don't have awareness or goals, but by using our consciousness we can put ourselves in their roots to see things from their angle. When we do that, nature unexpectedly looks very different. We become aware that we're in the nature's web, not outside of it. These plants are reflectors in which we can see ourselves in a different way.

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994) Poster

Documentary of the designing and creation of the Vietnam War Memorial. Focusing on the controversy that arose when it was announced that the winning design was submitted by a young Chinese-American woman. Since completion, The Vietnam War Memorial has become one of the most famous memorials in the US because of it's spiritual and emotional impact on viewers of the site. The documentary also describes other memorials Maya Lin has created, including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery Alabama.           

Planet Earth 

Planet Earth is a 2006 British television series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit. Five years in the making, it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC and also the first to be filmed in high definition. It is absolutely gorgeous to see our world in this way!

Tim's Vermeer : A Penn & Teller Film

Tim's Vermeer

Tim's Vermeer is a documentary film about inventor Tim Jenison's  decade long efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer, in order to test his theory that Vermeer painted with the help of optical devices. This is a very fun and enthralling watch!

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