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Movie of the Month: One Day in September

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture

one day in septemberAt the beginning of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Israeli athletes attended a memorial service at nearby Dachau to honor victims of the Holocaust.

Last week, in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janiero, a memorial service was held to honor the 11 members of the 1972 Israeli team who lost their lives in Munich.

Kevin Macdonald’s film One Day In September documents the 24 hours during which the so-called Olympics of Peace and Joy turned into a nightmare of terrorism that ended with the deaths of the Israelis as well as most of their captors.

In an attempt to ameliorate the embarrassment of the Berlin Olympics in 1936, which Hitler had hijacked to use as propaganda, the plan at the Munich Olympics was to present a kinder, gentler Germany, with no police or military presence in the Olympic Village. There were a handful of unarmed security guards, but not enough to prevent eight terrorists from forcing their way into the Israeli apartments and taking the athletes hostage in the early morning hours of September 5.

Using footage from live newscasts, as well as interviews with police, diplomats, the athletes’ friends and family, and the one surviving perpetrator, Macdonald recounts the horror of that day–the demands, the deadlines, the bungled rescue attempts, the whole world holding its breath. He also explores the role of the media and the Olympic Committee’s reluctance to suspend the games.

This film is not without flaws. In particular, a montage toward the end would have been more powerful without the soundtrack–at times Macdonald seems guilty of the same sensationalism with which he charges the news media–but overall this is a well-researched and thorough account of a world-changing event, one that reminds us that the purpose of the games is to foster good will and harmony among nations, and to focus on our similarities rather than our differences.

For a list of movies about sports, click here.

Summer Games

posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History
In this photo, taken just after the 1984 Summer Olympics, Joan Benoit Samuelson's marathon gold medal victory is being celebrated on Congress Street.

In this photo, taken just after the 1984 Summer Olympics, Joan Benoit Samuelson’s marathon gold medal victory is being celebrated on Congress Street.

August 5th marked the opening of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Maine has a fairly long line of Olympic competitors and Olympic champions, however many of us who live here don’t often think of Mainers as Summer competitors. One of the earliest Maine Olympians of note was Robert Legendre. Born in 1898 in Lewiston, Legendre competed in the 1920 Antwerp Games and the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. His sport was track and field competing in the pentathlon and long jump, winning a Bronze medal in Paris.

Robert LeGendre in 1919. Image is in the Public Domain.

Robert LeGendre in 1919. Image is in the Public Domain.


The 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles was a great year for Maine champions. Bill Swift of Portland played for the US baseball team who won Silver that year. Bill went on to have a storied career in baseball playing for the Seattle Mariners, the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies as pitcher. Joan Benoit Samuelson of Cape Elizabeth won Gold in the Women’s Marathon that year. She went on to write two books on running, Running Tide and Joan Samuelson’s Running for Women, both of which are in Portland Public Library’s collection. Joan is also the founder of the Beach to Beacon, an elite 10 kilometer road race which starts at Crescent Beach State Park and ends at the Portland Headlight in Fort Williams Park.

That same year, Jeff Turner of Bangor competed that year with the US Basketball team, bringing home Gold for the country. Turner was a power forward and center, playing professionally for the New Jersey Nets and the Orlando Magic after the Games completed.

More recently, Mainers have been competing in the Summer Games in more aquatic competitions. In Crocker of Portland started his championship career at the 2000 Summer games in Sydney, winning Gold with his teammates in the 400 meter medley. Crocker competed in the 2004 Athens games winning a Bronze medal in the 400 meter freestyle relay, a Silver in the 100 meter butterfly and another Gold as part the 400 meter medley relay team, which broke world records that Summer. Crocker returned to the Olympic pools in 2008 and won Gold again with the 400 meter medley relay.

Anna Goodale of Camden competed in the 2008 Games with the US Women’s Rowing team. She sat alongside Elle Logan of Portland winning the Gold in the women’s 8. Logan returned to Olympic waters in the 2012 London Games, winning Gold again sans Goodale. Elle Logan is looking for Gold again in this year’s Games.

For more information on this Summer’s schedule and when to watch for Logan, click here.

Movie of the Month: Fantastic Planet

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture

fantastic planetOn the planet Ygam, the dominant species is a race of blue giants called the Draags. Among the species they dominate are the Oms, humanoid creatures believed to be incapable of rational thought. When a pet Om named Terr gets his hands on his owner’s telepathic educational device, he runs away with it and joins a group of rebellious Oms who use the information to plan their escape to the Wild Planet.

This film was among the first animation made for adults in the early 70s, a collaboration between French and Czech filmmakers, and it is a beautiful example of pre-CGI animation, with a political message as relevant today as it was in 1973.

This edition is one of the latest releases from the Criterion Collection, and extras on the disc include an interview with filmmaker Roland Topor and a documentary about filmmaker Rene Laloux, as well as two short films on which they collaborated–Les temps morts (1965) and Les Escargots (1966.) There is also the option for an English language soundtrack.

For a list of other science fiction titles, click here.

For other recommended World Language films, click here.

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