As of today, these are films gse staff plans to use. A few films are required for all students, while most will be used only in particular Area I classes or in optional electives (such as a foreign film series). Any updates to this list will be posted on the gse website (




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НазваниеAs of today, these are films gse staff plans to use. A few films are required for all students, while most will be used only in particular Area I classes or in optional electives (such as a foreign film series). Any updates to this list will be posted on the gse website (
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GSE Film List - 2012


As of today, these are films GSE staff plans to use. A few films are required for all students, while most will be used only in particular Area I classes or in optional electives (such as a foreign film series). Any updates to this list will be posted on the GSE website (www.ncgse.org). A marking of (NR) signifies that the film has not been rated. An asterisk (*) before the name of the film signifies that it is required viewing for everyone.


Afropunk - Afro-Punk explores race identity within the punk scene. More than your everyday "Behind the Music" or typical "black history month" documentary, this film tackles hard questions, covering issues such as exile, loneliness, inter-racial dating and black power. We follow the lives of four people who have dedicated themselves to the punk rock lifestyle. They find themselves in conflicting situations, living the dual life of a person of color in a mostly white community. Featuring exclusive interviews with members of Dead Kennedys, Fishbone, TV on the Radio, Orange 9mm, The Eternals, Canedria, 24-7 Spys and 80 more. (NR)


Amandla! - This documentary tells the story of protest music in South Africa--but as it does so, it tells the story of the struggle against apartheid itself, for the music and the revolution are inseparable. (PG-13)


America and the Holocaust - In 1937, a 17-year-old German Jew named Kurt Klein emigrated to the US to escape the growing discrimination against Jews that had become a terrible fact of life following Hitler's rise in 1933. Together with his brother and sister, who had emigrated previously, Klein worked to establish himself so that he could obtain safe passage for his parents out of Germany. America and the Holocaust uses the moving tale of Klein's struggles against a wall of bureaucracy to free his parents to explore the complex social and political factors that led the American government to turn its back on the plight of the Jews. (NR)


American Movie: The Making of Northwestern - A 1999 documentary directed by Chris Smith. The film chronicles the real 1996-1997 making of Coven, an independent horror film directed by an independent filmmaker named Mark Borchardt. (NR)


Anvil: The Story of Anvil - At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal, " influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. This film contains coarse language and some mature themes. (NR)


Art: 21 – Art in the 21st Century - Art: 21 profiles a wide range of emerging and established artists currently working in the United States. A variety of cultural, religious, and geographic backgrounds are represented as artists are filmed in their studios and galleries while discussing their work and creative process. This film was broadcast on public television in 2003 and nominated for an Emmy award. Short clips of the film may be viewed in Art and Area II classes and discussed in relation to contemporary art and aesthetics. (NR)


Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) - Scientists stranded on a deserted island soon find that they are not alone!  The scientists have to fight for their lives as large, paper mache crabs threaten their lives. (NR)


Babies (2010) - This documentary tracks four newborn children in Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and the United States for one year.  Using this "tiny perspective" as a lens, the film presents a charming comparison of each subject's culture, values and society.


The Bang Bang Club - Part of the South African Film Series; A real story of four photographers, who refer to themselves as the Bang Bang Club, record the violence of the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. Two of these photographers received Pulitzer Prizes for their shocking photographs. Eventually, their friendship is tested by the brutal violence they witness and the ethics involved in their line of work. (Rated R for violence and language)


Battle of Algiers - The film concentrates instead on the years between 1954 and 1957 when the freedom fighters regrouped and expanded into the casbah, only to face a systematic attempt by French paratroopers to wipe them out. His highly dramatic film is about the organization of a guerrilla movement and the methods used to annihilate it by the colonial power. (NR- some violence)


A Beautiful Mind - After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish. (PG-13)


Before the Music Dies - With outstanding performances and revealing interviews Before the Music Dies takes a critical look at the homogenization of popular music with commentary by some of the industry's biggest talents like Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello, Erykah Badu, Branford Marsalis, Bonnie Raitt and more. Using historic footage the film looks at the evolution of American music and the artists who created it and pulls back the curtain (in a very creative way) to expose the sad truth behind today's "artificial" music stars. (NR)


The Big Bang Theory - The TV series will be analyzed in an elective for its philosophical merit

Black Girl - Working as a governess for a wealthy French family, a young Senegalese woman accompanies her charges on a vacation to the French Riviera, where her white mistress suddenly expects her to do the work of a common maid. This racially charged drama from Senegalese writer-director Ousmane Sembene is often recognized as one of the seminal works of African cinema. (NR-a couple of violent images)

Blood and Oil - The notion that oil motivates America's military engagements in the Middle East has long been dismissed as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. Blood and Oil, a new documentary based ont eh critically-acclaimed work of Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare, challenges this conventional wisdom to correct the historical record. The film unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years -- rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable. In the end, Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates. (NR)


*Brick (2005) - This neo-noir stars Joshua Gordon-Levitt as Brendan Frye, a modern-day Sam Spade who also happens to be in high school. When his ex-girlfriend goes missing, he delves into an underworld fraught with tough characters and even tougher choices. This film highlights issues in the study of ethics, specifically rule utilitarianism and categorical imperatives. (Rated R for drug content and implied violence)


Bunny Chow - Part of the South African Film Series; Three comedians from Johannesburg set out to do stand-up comedy at Oppi Koppi, South Africa’s biggest annual rock concert. Kags is a egotistical chauvinist who takes great joy in tormenting his buddies, Joey is a conflicted Muslim striving to avoid the temptations of club life while remaining faithful to his girlfriend, and Dave is a blissfully naïve dishwasher who longs for his shot at the big time. Bunny Chow presents an unguarded look at contemporary South Africa as a growing cultural melting pot simmering with youthful energy and renaissance. In English, Afrikaans, and Tsotsi Taal. (NR for language, brief sexuality, and brief drug use)

*Catfish (2010) - This documentary film reveals the slipperiness of truth in the digital age, as a New York photographer forms a relationship with a woman in the Midwest through Facebook.  As he learns more about her and becomes more intrigued and deeply involved, her stories begin to unravel, so he decides to drive to her home to uncover the mystery of her true identity. (PG-13)


Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years – An A&E documentary, Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years explores the history of Christianity and its impact on the world from the year 0 to 2000. Part 1 looks at the time from the Roman Empire until the East/West split in 1054. Part 2 accounts the history of the Western world's most influential religion from around the year 1000, the time of the East/West schism and the Crusades, through the Reformation up to contemporary times. (NR)


CNN Cold War: The Complete Series (individual episodes may be used) - CNN's Cold War is a sweeping look at nearly five decades of global history - a crystallization of a massive, three-year-long effort helmed by award-winning documentarian Jeremy Isaacs (The World at War). Isaacs' team shot more than 1,000 hours of original footage and gathered archival footage from all over the world to include historically important -- and often emotionally stunning -- images, many never before seen by an international audience. Honored with the prestigious 1998 George Foster Peabody Award, CNN's landmark series Cold War is the only major documentary on the subject. (NR)


Contact - Based on the novel by Carl Sagan, Dr. Ellie Arroway is a scientist on a personal and spiritual journey to find extraterrestrial intelligence.   Her quest coincides with her loss of faith in God as a result of the deaths of her parents in her childhood. (PG)


Devil's Playground (2002, PBS) - Lucy Walker directed this documentary about a little-known facet of Amish life. Although the Amish live in traditionally conservative enclaves, shunning modern conveniences and electricity while favoring a strict code of conduct and dress, they do have a moment in their lives known as "rumspringa." When an Amish child turns 16, they are allowed to interact with and take part in life away from their upbringing. This film follows a handful of teenagers during their rumspringa. (NR)


Director's Label - Spike Jonze/Anton Corbin/Michel Gondry. The Directors Label Series highlights the work of the filmmakers who have helped to redefine music videos and filmmaking over the last decade. (NR)


District 9 - Part of the South African Film Series; In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new 'Prawn' friends. (Rated R for violence and language)


Donnie Darko - Donnie Darko explores the nature of time and reality through the journey of a high school student in the fictional town of Middlesex, Virginia and is a synthesis of teen movie, science fiction, and psychological thriller. The movie touches upon several relevant and contemporary epistemological and metaphysical ideas, including the nature of knowledge and reality, empiricism versus rationalism, and existentialism. (Rated R for adult language)


Dr. Strangelove:  Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - A rogue general at a United States airfield initiates an international nuclear incident during the Cold War. (PG)


  • Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) - Invaders from outer space attack major cities of the world, prompting a swift and brutal counterstrike. (NR)


Egalité for All: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution (2009) - An excerpt from PBS’s documentary on the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture and his role in the only successful slave revolt (NR).


End Of The Century: The Story of The Ramones - In 1974 the New York City music scene was shocked into consciousness by a band of misfits from Queens called the Ramones. Playing in seedy Bowery bar to a small group of fellow struggling musicians, the band struck a chord of disharmony that rocked the foundation of the '70s music scene. Tracing the history of the band, from its unlikely origins through its star-crossed career, bitter demise and the sad fates of Joey and Dee Dee, End of the Century is a vibrant, candid document of one of the most influential groups in the history of rock. (NR)


En Terre Etrangère - The crossed visions of illegal aliens who left everything behind in search of a better life in the West, and who now almost regret being here, and those who are ready, in Africa, to follow their example and risk their life to cross the seas. Following back and forth the immigrants from Mali and the coast of Senegal to workers' suburbs around Paris, the film shows the hidden face of these shadow workers, the neglected dimension of people so close so far, our brothers beyond borders drawn by men. (NR)


Everything is Illuminated – Everything is Illuminated is based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer. The movie, closely based on the novel, is about the main character’s journey to find the woman who allegedly saved his grandfather from the Nazis. The film does an excellent job of interpreting the way the author cleverly uses language and character development. (PG-13)


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - This film stars Jim Carrey as a man whose heartbreak deepens when he discovers his former girlfriend (played by Kate Winslet) has had all memories of their relationship erased from her mind through an experimental procedure. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind explores the impermanence of memory and the nature of our modern fractured consciousness through a postmodern non-linear narrative in which the conventions of time and space are continually flouted. (Rated R due to adult humor, drug use, and adult situations)


*Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) - This documentary follows the rise of street art in the early 21st century and is directed by the elusive and anonymous Banksy.  The film raises issues of authenticity, aesthetic value, and our definition of art itself.  It was nominated for Best Documentary by the Academy of Motion Pictures.  (Rated R for adult language)


The Fabric of the Cosmos - Physicist Brian Greene takes us on a journey of the composition of the universe: space, time, quantum mechanics, and whether there exists one universe or a “multiverse.” (NR)


Fog Of War - Errol Morris’ award-winning 2003 documentary, Fog of War, is a masterful project that is primarily based on many hours of interviews with Robert McNamara, former Ford executive, Secretary of Defense, and head of the World Bank. The film asks McNamara, a very controversial figure in U.S. history, a series of powerful question that help get at his involvement and opinions on a bevy of world events of the last half of the twentieth century, particularly the Vietnam War. The film will be used to help students not only understand the history of that time period, but also the importance an individual can have in crafting U.S. foreign policy and history itself. (PG-13)

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