In Afghanistan you risk your life to sing. After thirty years of war and five devastating years of Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to the country. Since 2005, millions have been tuning in to Tolo TV's wildly popular American Idol-style series Afghan Star. Like its Western predecessors, people compete for a cash prize and record deal. More surprisingly, the contest is open to everyone across the country despite gender, ethnicity or age. Two thousand people audition, including three extremely brave women. And when viewers vote for their favorites via cell phone, it is, for many, their first encounter with the democratic process.
Winner of the Directing and Audience Awards in Sundance's 2009 World Documentary competition, Havana Marking's timely and moving film follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists-two men and two women-as they hazard everything to become the nation's favorite performer. By observing the Afghani people's relationship to its pop culture, Afghan Star is the perfect window into a country's tenuous, ongoing struggle for modernity. What Americans consider frivolous entertainment is downright revolutionary—and more human— in this troubled part of the world.
Of the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. She was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped. At age 27, Tanny was struck down by polio and paralyzed. She never danced again.Learn more
Director Jacob Hatley's intimate documentary finds Levon Helm at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. The film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.Learn more
From renowned filmmaker Amy Greenfield, this critically acclaimed modern adaptation of Sophocles' classic tragedy combines dance and narrative to tell the story of Antigone, who risks her own life to arrange the burial of her brother Polyneices. The treachery surrounding his death and the threatening behavior of King Creon provide the drama that motivates this daring interpretation of the classic story. Bonus material includes an extensive interview with Classics scholar Dr. Marianne McDonald.Learn more
Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have fashioned a dazzlingly entrancing ode to the revolutionary twentieth-century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes. What began as a group of Russian refugees who never danced in Russia became not one but two rival dance troupes who fought the infamous “ballet battles” that consumed London society before World War II.Learn more
Being in the World takes us on a journey around the world to meet philosophers influenced by the thought of Martin Heidegger, as well as experts in the fields of sports, music, craft, and cooking, in a celebration of human beings, and our ability to find meaning in life through the mastery of physical, intellectual, and creative skills.Learn more
No ballet has such appeal as Swan Lake, a haunting fable of a young man’s naïveté and a beautiful girl’s entrapment in swan’s feathers, all swept up in Tchaikovsky’s emotional music. The Bolshoi prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya became a world legend in the iconic dual role of Odette/Odile, and her unique strength and dramatic charisma are captured in this digitally restored 1976 performance.Learn more
Sneaking down at night to tend her doll, Masha is swept up in a magical transformation where the Christmas tree grows to huge size and rats engage in an epic battle with the toys. See the legendarily captivating Ekaterina Maximova as Masha, alongside her great husband, Vladimir Vasiliev, as the Nutcracker. This 1978 live recording has been digitally restored and remastered to HD quality.Learn more
Follows a young French girl (Leslie Caron, An American in Paris) through college, as her education sponsored
by a mysterious millionaire with long legs. This thrice Oscar® nominated cinemascope musical features sparkling musical numbers and dream sequences, and the incomparable Fred Astaire.