The Story of Film Part 8: New Directors, New Form

Continuing our journey through The Story of Film, we move further abroad as a new wave of filmmakers emerges across the world. With the French New wave in full flower and major new filmmakers from Italy and Sweden, cinema was in an exciting period of growth, with new directors emerging from countries whose voices had yet to be heard from.

The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 had begun a political “thaw” in Communist bloc countries, which in turn began a blossoming of film culture within them. In Poland, the emergence of the Polish Film School, influenced by the Italian neo-realist film movement, would produce several influential directors including Andrzej Wajda, whose work focused on the social and political evolution of Poland and her people. Wajda’s War Trilogy of films (PokolenieKanal, Ashes & Diamonds) focused on the Polish experience during World War 2 and its aftermath, with characters struggling to survive and resist their country’s occupiers.

From the same milieu came director Roman Polanski, who had worked as an actor in two of Wadja’s films. Polanski’s first feature, Knife In the Water, was an international success about the psychological games played between a married couple and a young hitchhiker. Polanski would quickly leave Poland, choosing to work in Great Britain and America, where he would direct the critically acclaimed films RepulsionRosemary’s Baby, and Chinatown.

While Communist controls had relaxed elsewhere, the film industry in the Soviet Union was still rigidly controlled. Nevertheless, Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky, would manage to make himself known to the world, despite continuous conflicts with State censorship. Tarkovsky’s debut film, Andrei Rubelev, considered one of the greatest films ever made, was suppressed by Soviet censors, remaining unreleased there for years. Though later films like Solaris and Stalker would have less trouble, Tarkovsky would eventually leave the USSR for Italy, where he would direct the films Nostalghia and The Sacrifice.

Originally forbidden to make films by colonialist oppressors, authentic African cinema would find its voice during this time. Regarded as the “father of African film”, Senegalese author Ousmane Sembene embraced filmmaking as a way of reaching a broader African audience. His film La Noire De (Black Girl), about a young Senegalese girl working as a maid for a French couple, grappled with the issues of colonialism and racism, becoming the first African film to win international attention.

Finally, the “new wave” which had brought such change to world cinema, began to impact cinema in Britain and the US. A wave of “kitchen sink” films, dramas focusing on working class disillusionment, moved from British theater to cinemas in films like Look Back In AngerThis Sporting Life and Kes. In the US, director John Cassavetes was laying the foundation for “independent cinema” with films like ShadowsFaces, and Minnie & Moskowitz. But it was the success of another independent film, Easy Rider, that would shake Hollywood to its core and usher in a new age of American cinema.

     ~ Posted by Deanna H.

Hello from the Center of the Universe!

Your Fremont Branch team misses seeing you at the Center of the Universe and hearing about your latest Library discoveries. Here’s what we’ve enjoyed lately and think you might like, too.

While you’re waiting for the Seattle Reads There There events to happen later this year, try reading Lot by Bryan Washington. It’s also a set of interconnected stories, set in the sprawling neighborhoods of Houston. I’ve been reading up on all things Texas recently, partially because of idle thoughts of moving there, but mostly because you can’t really understand America’s future without coming to grips with it. Texas, and Houston in particular, is far more complicated and diverse than the caricature version you see in pop culture. Lot is a staccato blast of fiction. Its cast of young characters reflects its tangle of heritage in short set pieces that mix bravado and despair. ~ Daniel S.

If you loved Scooby-Doo as a kid, check out Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. It’s the summer of 1977 and the Blyton Summer Detective Club has solved the case of the Sleepy Lake monster: just another fortune hunter trying to get his hands on legendary riches. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. But what if it wasn’t just a guy in a mask? Now it’s 13 years later and the former detectives are still haunted by that night. Andy, the once intrepid tomboy, decides she needs answers. It’s time to get the gang back together (including the dog!) and find out what really happened at Sleepy Lake. ~ Christiane

About a week into the stay at home order, I started re-listening to one of my favorite podcasts – The Adventure Zone. It’s a story I know and love, and it brings me what we all need during this time – comfort. TAZ is a real play podcast in which three brothers and their dad play table top RPGS (mainly Dungeons & Dragons, but also Monster of the Week, Urban Shadows and others). The hosts keep the show engaging, funny and touching throughout their adventures. If you aren’t into podcasts but love a good adventure story, you’re in luck! Their first two quests are available as graphic novels, with the third one coming in July. Read the first one as an e-book. ~ Jaz

John Prine. As I write his name tears spring to my eyes. Losing him to Covid-19 at only 73 years is a heavy blow. His passing means another soul whose lyrics will be elevated, but the songs he had yet to write will remain with him in the Cosmos. In my view he is the Poet Laureate of Songwriters, and should rise to the distinction of Patron Saint of Musicians. His swan song, The Tree of Forgiveness, is available to download on Freegal, along with an extensive collection of his other albums. These songs: “Hello in There” is relevant to these times; “The Bottomless Lake” is an upbeat, perilous tune; however, “Only Love” has haunted me the most through our social distancing. ~ Darcy

I sure miss my Seattle Sounders. You, too? Get your soccer fix by checking out The Sound and the Glory: How the Seattle Sounders Showed Major League Soccer How to Win Over America by Matt Pentz, which takes you behind the scenes of the thrilling 2016 season. Test your Sounders knowledge by reading 100 Things Sounders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Geoff Baker. Want to branch out beyond the Sounders? Read Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America’s “Sport of the Future” Since 1972,  by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, the hilarious hosts of the Men in Blazers podcast. Try the audio version for extra laughs.  ~ Hannah Jo

Write On! Crafting the Novel, Creating Imaginary Lives

Let’s start at the beginning, in that place From Where You Dream, at the first flash of a place, a line or a face.  Start, precisely, there, Creating Characters as you continue to construct, in your mind, the Architecture of the Novel you will write.

Ok, maybe, you have to start at that other beginning. Perhaps, you’ll  take the time to learn How Fiction Works and discover How Not to Write a Novel. Prepare yourself to go through multiple Beginnings, Middles & Ends before, really, coming to The End (it will be worth the trip)!

You may have to go through Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel before you discover you need to  Get Your Mind & Life Ready for Writing a BookWriting Great Fiction means staying in it for The Long Haul from the first to The Last Draft until you find yourself Mastering the Process.

You’re not alone. All those voices in your head are clamoring to have their story told and only you can tell their story. Tell it! They’ll be peering over your shoulder, too, staring at the screen and taking in the sage advice offered in the resource list:  Write On!: Crafting the Novel, Creating Imaginary Lives. Get real busy, make it so that This Year You Write Your Novel so your characters can live the lives they dream of.

     ~ Chris

Staying Healthy with Your Library: Consumers’ Checkbook – Healthcare Providers

Consumers’ Checkbook is the local Consumer Reports, but for services instead of products. It’s a consumer-driven non-profit with clear methods for ratings and reviews. In the Puget Sound region, you’ll find they have reviews for thousands of doctors, dentists, massage therapists, psychologists, nursing homes, and more.

To access this database from your own device, sign in with your library card number and PIN, then select Consumers’ Checkbook from our list of Online Resources.

On the Consumers’ Checkbook homepage, you’ll see a button at the very top left of the screen that says “Services We Rate.” You can also find these services further below on the screen, but the search bar and browsing are somewhat buried beneath the fold. Click on “Services We Rate” and a menu along the left of service categories will appear. Click on “Healthcare Providers” and a large menu of individual types of providers is revealed to the right, taking up the entire screen. It’s categorized by “Popular,” “Doctors,” “Dentists,” and “More Ratings & Advice.” You can also select “See all Healthcare Providers” at the bottom right of the menu.

This takes you to a homepage for “Healthcare Providers” which has just over 20 different categories, including “doctors,” “dentists,” “emergency rooms,” and more. The menu to the right of the page includes other “advice” pages on topics such as “help at home for seniors” and “aging in place.”

If you select a category, such as “dentists,” you‘ll be taken to the a “dentists” category page that includes an overview of the topic, articles on dentists, the number of ratings in the area, and the ratings for providers. When you select ratings, it allows you to input how far afield you’d like to search from a particular ZIP code you input, and what specialty, if any, you’d like to see. At the time of writing, there are 300 ratings in the Puget Sound area for dentists. You can filter your results by distance from a ZIP code, recommendations by users, and so on. The results can include “(Business) Name,” “Distance” from your ZIP, “Checkbook’s Top Ratings,” “Price,”“Ratings” from users (who must have accounts), and “Most Recent Comment” from users. Some pages have slightly different information, and some categories go straight to the ratings page without a robust page with articles and the like.

When you select a provider, you’ll go to their rating page. It has their name, contact information, a map, whether they are highly rated, and pricing information. Further down, it includes consumer ratings and comments.

With the ratings results and individual provider’s pages, there isn’t a dedicated option to download or print the pages, so you’ll need to use the browser function to print any information you’d like to keep.

For the articles from Consumers’ Checkbook, there are authors and publication dates listed, though no information on the credentials of the authors. It isn’t clear when their ratings were last updated, but you can tell from user comment dates, and the site includes their ratings methodology. Again, it’s important to note that Consumers’ Checkbook is a non-profit, and isn’t trying to sell you on these providers, but are trying to help you make an informed consumer decision.

You’ve done it! These are the basics for using the Consumers’ Checkbook about as well as your trusty community librarian to search for healthcare providers!

While all Library locations are closed to the public, we will continue to provide the many digital services you have come to love:

You can find all these and more compiled on our Staying Home page. As more library services become available, we will make announcements on our website.

Please be sure to contact us through our Ask Us reference question platform with any questions you may have. Be well.

This post is part of our Staying Healthy with Your Library series featuring online consumer health resources available from The Seattle Public Library. Read our previous posts on Proquest Consumer Health database,, and Consumer Reports for health products, and stay tuned for more posts. Databases require a library card number and PIN for remote access.

~posted by Mychal L.

Trekking Through Time: Seattle Historic Postcard Collection

Many of us walk the same paths and commute by the same route, paying less attention with every trip. During Stay Home, Stay Safe many of us are slowing down, getting some fresh air in our neighborhoods, and noticing little details that can feel grounding. But with parks and trails closed, we can find even these new habits becoming familiar all too quickly.

Invite a new element into your daily stretch by discovering history on your own street. The Seattle Historic Postcard Collection is home to over 800 postcard images dating back to the late 1800’s. The snapshots capture the growth and transformation of many Seattle neighborhoods and landmarks. Search Lake Union to see the view from the Space Needle in 1962 looking out over a now unfamiliar skyline. See the World’s Fair Grounds that were designed and immortalized by renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki into the celebrated Pacific Science Center.

postcard showing view from Space Needle to Lake Union, 1962
Space Needle to Lake Union, 1962
postcard showing Pacific Science Center and Space Needle at night, 1965
Pacific Science Center and Space Needle at night, 1965

Travel further back in time to see Seattle’s main streets at the turn of the 20th century. The first street car line ran down 2nd Ave starting in 1884. By 1892 there were 48 miles of street car line and 22 miles of cable railway crisscrossing the city. Can you match your street corner or bus route on Google Street View with historic postcards capturing moments in their evolution? You may discover the topography and city were drastically altered by earthworks projects over time, flattening hills and changing the waterfront.

postcard showing Tidelands to Waterfront, 1880 and 1915
Tidelands to Waterfront, 1880 and 1915
postcard showing Aerial View of the Waterfront, 1960
Aerial View of the Waterfront, 1960

Find landmarks through the decades as they rise and age and disappear or are restored. The Denny Regrade, for example, resulted in significant changes to the cityscape.

postcard showing Denny Hill Regrade Project, 1908
Denny Hill Regrade Project, 1908
postcard showing The lost Denny/Washington Hotel, 1903 (before the Denny Regrade)
The lost Denny/Washington Hotel, 1903 (before the Denny Regrade)
postcard showing The “New” Washington Hotel, Belltown, 1909 (after the Denny Regrade)
The “New” Washington Hotel, Belltown, 1909 (after the Denny Regrade)

Look out over the University of Washington Campus in 1930. View the historic halls as far back as 1905. Some of the most recent postcards show the U District of the 1950’s and 60’s.

postcard showing University Buildings, ca. 1905
University Buildings, ca, 1905
postcard showing University Aerial View, ca. 1930
University Aerial View, ca. 1930
postcard showing University District, 1966
University District, 1966

As you explore the collection, feel free to reach out to a librarian via Ask Us chat or email on the Library’s website to find answers to your Seattle history questions.

When you have ventured back in time enough and want to take a rest, search for your favorite parks to wander in a while. Do you have any photos of the same views and trails in the collection? Share a side-by-side or even a series of shots on your social media and trade memories with friends! Are you practicing an artistic outlet you could use these as inspiration for? Try your pencil or brush at interpreting images past and present to experience them in new ways. We are all looking forward to the chance to hike, bike, walk, and enjoy these spaces again, but until we can, we are in this together.

~posted by Hannah V.