Sewickley Public Library staff member, Blair, has great recommendations! Whether it’s books she’s personally read, movies she’s watched, or rave reviews she’s noted from patrons – she collects lists of both popular and underrated materials you may have not yet checked out. We’re featuring these titles in a new series we’re calling “Blair Recommends.” Up first: DVDs!
Ash is the Purest White 
In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When a fight breaks out between rival gangs, Qiao uses a gun to protect Bin and is sent to prison for five years. When she is released, she seeks Qiao out to renew their relationship.
The Public 
An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.
This collection presents seven episodes of Burns’ American Lives series, which delves into the biographies of historical figures whose accomplishments helped shape the fabric of America: Thomas Jefferson (1996), Lewis And Clark: The Journey of the Corps Of Discovery (1997), Frank Lloyd Wright (1998), Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (1999), Mark Twain (2001), Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip (2003), and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson (2004).
Photojournalist, Chris Hondros, sought to reconcile peerless beauty with unfathomable atrocity, and Greg Campbell’s film follows suit. Hondros covered every major world event from behind the scenes since the late 1990s. Greg Campbell’s documentary tells the untold stories of many of Hondros’s most iconic photographs.
Last Men in Aleppo 
The year is 2015. Syria’s brutal civil war has been ravaging the country since the government responded with force to civil protests during the Arab Spring in 2011. Regime, Kurdish, ISIS and rebel forces all occupy various parts of the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria. A volunteer group called the White Helmets provides emergency services to traumatized residents in the rebel-occupied areas of the city. A crucial part of their efforts is rescuing survivors: After air attacks reduce buildings to rubble, the men of the White Helmets dig through the debris and pull survivors to safety. They are nothing short of heroes. The White Helmets are the subject of Last Men in Aleppo, the searing documentary directed by Feras Fayyad that won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
The Nightmare 
What is so striking is the similarity of the stories. People describe lying in bed, awake, unable to move. There is a tingling sensation, like static, like nerve endings shorting out from overuse. People describe a feeling that something is approaching, from behind them, or towards them. Along with that approach comes an overwhelming sense of evil. Dark amorphous shadow figures appear, somewhat human-like, leaning over the person lying in bed, appearing at the door frame. Sometimes the dark figure wears a hat. Something terrible is going to happen and the person is unable to move or to react. This is the experience commonly known as “sleep paralysis” and is the subject of Rodney Ascher’s engaging horror-film-like documentary, “The Nightmare.”