Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Popcorn with a Purpose

Wednesday Evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in the Meeting House

June 25-Babies 
July 9-Lost Boys of Sudan
July 23- I AM  
August 6-Why Dogs Cry and Chimpanzees Smile
August 20-State of Conflict: North Carolina

Babies (2010). Put a smile on your face and warm feelings in your heart with this fascinating video portrayal of four babies from very different parts of the world: Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo, and San Francisco. The babies are followed from birth through approximately their first year of life. And there is no narration, no explanations, but only the sights, sounds, and activities from the baby’s environment. Playing time is 80 minutes, not including available bonus features. PG – nudity.

Lost Boys of Sudan (2003). PBS's video is a gripping documentary about young refugees from the Sudanese conflict as well as a moving story of survival and acclimation in a strange new land. The film centers around two young Dinka tribesmen who flee a vicious civil war in their homeland and risk thirst, starvation, and animal attack to reach refugee camps thousands of miles away in Kenya in Ethiopia. Once there, the "lost boys'" journey begins again, as they are resettled in Houston, Texas, and must start new lives in a completely alien country. The film addresses themes of home, acceptance, family, and what it means to be a member of society–-both in America and the global community. 85 minutes

I AM (2011). Successful Hollywood director Tom Shadyac received a life threatening head injury in an accident. His recovery process started him on a journey to answer two questions: What’s wrong with our world and What can we do about it? Tom visits some of today’s great minds including authors, poets, teachers, religious leaders, and scientists. The essence of the story is the one-ness of life on earth. Video is about 78 minutes, not including the bonus features.

Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry (2000). This is a fascinating, and often quite moving documentary showing the emotional kinship between man and his fellow mammals. The film footage is remarkable, starting with the basic emotions that pertain to survival, "fear, aggression, and the urge to procreate", and then moves on to the more subtle feelings of joy, compassion, grief, loyalty, and even depression. Since a few of the scenes depict animals in long-term captivity as well as animals’ responses to the death of a group member, viewing is best suited to children 12 and older. The viewing time is 100 minutes.

State of Conflict: North Carolina (2014). From Moyers & Company, a documentary report from a state that votes both blue and red and sometimes purple. Now, however, Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature; and they are steering North Carolina far to the right. At the heart of this conservative onslaught sits a businessman, Art Pope. But Pope’s most ardent opponent is the Reverend William Barber, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, who formed an alliance which raised opposition in government as well as a citizen’s protest, “Moral Mondays.” The viewing time is approximately 60 minutes with a follow-on discussion led by Debbie Rubenstein, Board Member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte.

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