by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
DVDs account for about twenty percent of the materials checked out at the Litchfield Library. For some people in our community, library DVDs are the only way they watch television. Other people still are surprised to learn that the library offers DVDs for check out, because they thought we only had books.
Litchfield Library has about 2700 unique video titles; we don’t have more than one copy of any of them in the local collection. Pioneerland Library System has almost 50,000 DVDs available to order, although obviously there are many of the same movies and TV shows in different libraries.
We get new DVDs every month in Litchfield; let me tell you about a few of the newest.
Netflix rebooted the familiar TV show Lost in Space last year. You may remember the original from the late 1960s, which in turn was based on the 1812 book The Swiss Family Robinson. There was also a movie in the 1990s, which was apparently awful. This new version is geared to young teens and older, and it has gotten decent reviews for having great effects and sets, plus some more character development than the original. If you love the 1965 series for the campiness, you won’t find that here, but it’s still some relatively family-friendly sci fi.
The Mustang is a drama based on a real animal therapy program for prison inmates in Nevada. In fact, three of the actors in the film came from the program. The movie stars Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenaerts in a story about a violent convict who gets the chance to participate in training wild mustangs. One reviewer said it’s an unusual mix of a gritty prison movie blended with an inspiring horse movie, but in general critics love it.
Did you know there’s a new movie called Virginia Minnesota? I hadn’t heard anything about it until just recently when it was released on DVD. This indie film won the award for best Minnesota-made narrative feature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and it has been recognized at other small film festivals around the country. It’s a comedy-drama about two young women who go on a 24-hour journey together after becoming estranged in childhood. It might be interesting just to see the Iron Range scenery where it was filmed.
The new documentary Maria by Callas tells the story of opera singer Maria Callas’ life in her own words. The Greek-American soprano was an international star in the middle of the twentieth century, an extraordinarily talented performer for the ages and a notorious diva. This sympathetic portrait tries to tell her story as she would have, through interviews and other footage, letters she wrote, unpublished memoirs, home movies, and personal photos, almost none of which has been made public before. While recognizing that it isn’t a balanced portrayal, reviewers praised this movie as an absorbing new look at a famous person.
Another new documentary is a big hit in our library system right now. Apollo 11 is put together from archival footage that the public hasn’t seen before, and the director managed to make it crisp and beautiful. One movie critic after another says that the movie makes audiences awestruck about the moon landing all over again.
Some of the other new DVDs you can find at the Litchfield library include Captain Marvel, Five Feet Apart, Hotel Mumbai, PBS’s The Mueller Investigation, and My Dinner with Hervé. If we don’t have a movie or television show, new or old, that you’re looking for, ask library staff for help and we will do our best to borrow it from other libraries in Minnesota.