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Movies about libraries – Save and Burn, etc.

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Julian Samuel is one of the most interesting filmmaker/artists working today anywhere in the world. He was born in Pakistan and grew up in Canada. A while ago he made a film that came to my attention, “The Library in Crisis.” I borrowed a copy from my friends at Filmakers Library, and my life was changed….

I reviewed the film and screened it at The Greenbrier during a state library conference. I also got in touch with Mr. Samuel in Montreal who planned on making a sequel – until 9/11. I sent him information, put him in touch with Sanford Berman and other leading American librarians…but after 9/11 he was told that Pakistani born Canadians should NOT travel to the U.S. Thus was born the most interesting film about libraries I have ever seen – “Save and Burn.” I got a small credit in the film, and wrote a long review that was posted on the website of a leading alt magazine, Counterpunch.

I also helped promote the film in Counterpoise and have loaned it to librarians around the state and country.

As a film person who went to library school, I have always been interested in all films about libraries and librarians. Several great films including “Something Wicked This Way Comes” stars a male librarian played by Jason Robards. Indeed, the greatest sci fi series, “Foundation” by Isaac Asmimov has a group of librarians as the heroes of the series. Two years ago I screened an amazing film also from Filmakers Library about a Belgium man who was an ultimate librarian – Paul Otlet. The film is called “The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World.” I screened the film in Shepherdstown and at The South Charleston Museum for its last Belgium Festival.

An English library professor e-mailed me today looking for a contact for Mr. Samuel since “Save and Burn” will be shown on May 3 in London as part of the largest Palestinian film festival in Europe. Amazing to think that such an important film was shown in WV before London….

Recently I watched Mr. Samuel’s latest film, “Atheism.” I loaned it to Robin Boyd to use in her film criticism course at WVSU. If you want to learn more about Mr. Samuel – an artist, author, and filmmaker, visit his new website – http://www.juliansamuel.net/

Fez’ Axiom – “In the information age, everyone eventually becomes a librarian.”

The picture at the top is of the Alexandrine Library, the recently rebuilt version of the ancient world’s greatest library which housed all of human knowledge. As Mr. Samuel notes in several of his films, the Arab world was once the home of many of the world’s greatest universities and libraries – during the European “Dark Ages.”