Here’s the latest on films, books, and music you may
have missed. If you find this helpful, please share this edition of World
Wide Work with others. For more photos see MattWittPhotography.com or Matt
Witt Photography on Facebook.
All proceeds from photo sales go to
the Rogue Action Center, an independent nonprofit hub for Rogue Valley
community organizing for social, economic, racial, and climate justice.
New and worth noting…
the Radiant City. How long must people suffer for past mistakes, and how does a family find
a pathway to forgiveness? These are some questions at the heart of this thoroughly
engaging and flawlessly made drama. Twenty years before the action begins, a
17-year-old boy killed a child by setting fire to a house. He was sent to
prison based on the testimony of his younger brother. Now, the older man is up
Luna and Diego are
parking lot security guards, but this delightfully unique, Oscar-nominated,
15-minute feature from Spain shows us that there is much more to these two than
their drab uniforms might suggest.
with an imperious teacher, members of a children’s choir invent a creative way
to stand up for each other in this charming 25-minute short feature from
4.1 Miles (22
minutes) and Watani:
My Homeland (39 minutes) are two powerful short documentaries about
what Syrian refugees face.
Ixcanul. In this
Guatemalan feature film that gains authenticity from a mostly non-professional
cast, a 17-year-old girl in a remote
village faces one cultural and economic obstacle after another as she tries to
follow her dreams.
The Other Son. Two
boys have been raised for their first 18 years on opposite sides of the
Israeli-Palestinian divide. Then, their families learn that their sons were
born in the same hospital and mistakenly switched.
Graduation. A Romanian doctor has long dreamed that his
daughter will go to a university abroad and escape their country’s bleakness
and corruption. But in trying to realize that dream, will he become part of the
system he wants her to escape?
and Intermissions. An hour-long collage of words and images centered on
anarchist Emma Goldman draws on archival footage, reenactment, and current
Fatima. A Muslim
immigrant to France and her two daughters each follow different paths as they
try to build a life in their new home.
The Watermelon Woman. Remastered for its 20
anniversary, this pioneering film follows a young black lesbian filmmaker
trying to make a documentary about an elusive African American actress from the
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (Random
House). The lives of two couples
intersect in this timely novel – a Lehman Brothers executive and his wife on
the eve of the 2008 Wall Street crash, and two hard-working immigrants from Cameroon
who end up working for them.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Ballentine).
A very readable and suspenseful novel (despite an implausible ending) doubles
as a thought-provoking introduction for white readers to issues of racism and
City of Grit and Gold by Maud
Macrory Powell (Allium). This
short novel can work for everyone from middle-school students to adults as it recounts
from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl how her family becomes divided by a
strike for the 8-hour day by mostly immigrant workers in 1886 in Chicago.
From #Black Lives Matter to Black
Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Haymarket).
Throughout U.S. history, black activists and their allies have found that
confronting issues of race requires also confronting issues of class, gender,
and economic justice.
Where the Line is Drawn by Raja
Shehadeh (The New Press). A leading
Palestinian writer tells how occupation of his country has affected him
personally over the past 40 years and describes the ups and downs of his long
friendship with a Jew living in Israel.
The Vanishing Middle Class by Peter
Temin (MIT). Some of the economic, political, and historical
roots of the increasing divide between America’s top 1% in wealth and those at
the bottom and in the shrinking middle are explored.
All the Real Indians Died Off by
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Beacon). Two scholars refute 21 myths about Native
Americans commonly taught in U.S. schools, media, and pop culture.
Happened to Interracial Love? by
Kathleen Collins (HarperCollins). Sixteen short stories by
the African American director of the 1982 film, Losing Ground, evoke
relationships and experiences during the civil rights era and beyond.
Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf). A poet of Iranian descent writes powerfully about the impacts of
war, both in the Middle East and here in the U.S. Some poems are built around
phrases in the U.S. military’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Others
are in the form of censored letters from military prison, with key words
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (Houghton Mifflin). Chinese-American experiences are explored in this novel through
four lives in four time periods – a worker in the California gold rush and
building of the railroads; a Hollywood actress in the 1920s; Vincent Chin,
killed by Detroit auto workers who thought he was Japanese; and a half- Chinese
man who goes with his wife to adopt a baby in China.
Wild Trust by Jeff Fair, photographs
by Larry Aumiller (University of
Alaska). Text and photos share the insider experiences of the long-time
director of an Alaskan state sanctuary for brown bears.
Red: The History of a Color by
Michel Pastoureau (Princeton).
One in a series of beautifully reproduced art books about individual colors,
this one traces the use of red throughout the history of European societies as
culture and art trends evolved.
The Revolution Will Not Be Funded by
Unite (Duke University). Back in
print with a new foreword, this classic collection of essays describes how
foundation and government funding discourages some nonprofits from fighting for
Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein
(Akashic). The main character in this romantic tale is a
woman who is a traveling speaker for women’s rights before and during World War
I and the fight for women’s suffrage.
Hitler’s American Model by James Q.
In the 1930s, the German Nazis drew on American laws and practices on race as
they laid the groundwork for the Holocaust.
Among Wolves by Gordon Haber and
Marybeth Holleman (University of
Alaska). The writings of a scientist who studied wolves for 43 years shed
light on many misconceptions about their social life and hunting habits, and
about what humans must do to keep from making them extinct.
Sweet Lorain by The U-Liners.
Spirited songs, most with some political angle, performed by a talented band.
The Beautiful Not Yet by Carrie
Newcomer. A CD and accompanying book
of lyrics and poems that have spiritual overtones, including “You Can Do This
Hard Thing,” “Help in Hard Times,” and “Slender Thread” about staying
Graveyard Whistling by Old 97s (ATO). Some fresh songwriting, including “She Hates
Everybody (But Me).”
Do What Your Heart Say To by Scott
Ramminger. Songs like “Give a Pencil
to a Fish” are backed by a lively ensemble that sometimes sounds like The Band
or Eric Clapton.