Various: United Nations Television, 1961-1967. Item #3073
Nineteen 16mm films with sound (some color, some black and white) , each from 25-29 minutes long. Very good: most with typical outgassing from period film stock as usual; of the five films that have been digitized, four of them had to be spliced. Image quality varies: the color film is a bit off hue, one of the black and white films is blurry and the sound cut out halfway through Fabio's Journey; we note that Costco was used for digitization and believe all media would benefit from expert restoration. This is a collection of films produced by the United Nations for its United Nations Television series, “International Zone. ” It began airing on at least 58 television stations in the United States in late 1960 or early 1961 with many of the episodes hosted or narrated by Alistair Cooke. The countries shown in this collection include Senegal, Singapore, Ecuador, Peru, the Congo, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. An inventory of the films including their titles is available, along with any information we have been able to glean about the ones we have not digitized. The series presented a wide range of issues. It ran to at least 99 episodes and is now all but forgotten. Most in this group depict poverty-stricken regions adapting to the infrastructure assistance they received from the UN. A few relate purely to culture and one film describes the project that led to the adoption of the World Heritage Foundation. According to a contemporary newspaper article on the series, its goal was to convey the UN's role in the world outside of crisis situations. From the five films offered here that we've been able to view, we think another goal was to inform viewers about the lives of everyday people in developing countries. While we understand that film can be mislabeled or not catalogued at all in the institutional world, we have located no holdings for 12 of the 19 films in this collection and six of the seven we have located are held by at most two entities. None of them appear in the online search engine for the UN's Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Descriptions of the five we have viewed follow, clips of each available on request. The Journey of Fabio PacchioniThis film was produced in 1967 and tells the story of an Italian theater director hired by UNESCO in 1962 to build a national theater program in Ecuador. According to the Cambridge Guide to Theater (Cambridge University Press, 1998) , Ecuador's Casa de la Cultura reached out to UNESCO in 1962 for a technical director to revamp Ecuadoran theater. The person chosen was Fabio Pacchioni from Italy, who had been experimenting with using theater to help impoverished people improve their lives. Through that experiment he learned that he needed actors who could understand the challenges faced by these groups. He stressed the importance of the social responsibility of the theater and “its function as a bridge between peoples. ” Pacchioni arrived in Ecuador in October, 1963 and created the Teatro Ensayo to train actors and other theater personnel. According to the film he spent his first few months traveling to small villages, and going to festivals to get a feel for the different cultures of Ecuador and he's seen speaking to landowners, farmers, missionaries and people on the streets. We also know, thanks to Americantheare.org, “that in 1963, when a junta [in Ecuador] seized power and suspended civil liberties, “Los Tzanticos”—a group of poets, playwrights and actors—started a theatre movement that used a “combative language” in open opposition to both the old Spanish theatre tradition and the new dictatorship. ” When Pacchioni arrived, “he immediately connected with “Los Tzanzicos, ” and from that point on, Ecuadorian theatre became politically charged and more socially relevant. ” The film recounts how Pacchioni advertised for a drama school in Quito, which ultimately had over 100 students. After a year of training, he chose 30 of the students to make up the national theater company and they set out to perform throughout the country. The group staged classical plays as well as new works by writers such as José Martínez Queirolo. The film depicts parts of performances, including their first, in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, where they are also shown building the stage. Other performance footage is at a housing project near Quito, as well as their last performance in a remote village that required all their equipment be transported by canoe. Pacchioni is shown working with actors and giving direction, and there's some footage of the actors interacting with audience members after performances. A Light for Lalla MimounaThis film documents the building of urban infrastructure in Lalla Mimouna, Morocco. Filmed in 1963 or early 1964, it starts with a brief introduction by its narrator, Alistair Cooke. The project began in 1960 with the UN assisting the Moroccan government in an experiment to transform the town into modernity. The film tells the story of its transformation and its subsequent economic growth through the establishment of modern facilities. The Moroccan government loaned money to replace merchants' tin storage shacks with concrete buildings that would better protect their goods and the film shows the removal of the shacks and creation of the new buildings. Money was also provided for the purchase of heavy duty trucks for transport, as well as for building roads and supporting drainage systems. These trucks drastically cut down on transit time to and from markets, which was previously done by donkey, and increased business tenfold in three years. The film shows engineers and construction crews digging ditches for huge pipes for drainage, dumping gravel for roads and more. Much of the film focuses on Abdel Kader Maiz who was the town council's vice president and the prime mover behind its ongoing progress. We see him and other merchants setting up their tents at markets, transferring goods from trucks and setting up displays inside the tents for olive oil, sugar loaves, bags of spices and more. Despite being nearly illiterate, Maiz represented Lalla Mimouna in the initiative and he's shown negotiating on their behalf for infrastructure items. At some point, Maiz got fed up with the process and threatened to quit but was reinvigorated when the government offered to extend electrical services to the town. In this part of the film, several merchants are interviewed regarding how much electricity would help their businesses, e. G. Not having to use candles (which also caused fires) , not expending cash for batteries, etc. We see the installation of power lines by professional engineers as well as the first (failed) test of their first street lights. In addition to its portrayal of economic projects, the film documents the town's populace in its every day life. We see the bustle of the town square; women doing laundry at a well by stomping on clothes with bare feet; men playing board games and more. There's even a scene in a classroom where the children learn about electricity and its importance to their town. The film ends with a large ceremony in the town square, replete with dancing men firing weapons, celebrating the installation of electricity. A Call From MalaysiaThis film juxtaposes Malaysia's telecommunications training center with the rural family life of one of the center's students. The facility was built in Kuala Lumpur with the assistance of the UN in a project that began in 1962 with the clearing of a 12 acre plot covered in jungle. The film follows one of the students, James Suyon. He was from a rural village of around 70 families in Sarawak and the only educated person in his family. As a child, he had to travel to a parochial school by canoe, and the film depicts children traveling to that school by river. They are also shown lining up for school and singing. James left his village at 13 to attend a Catholic school where most graduates became clerks or teachers. James was an exception—a villager who was chosen for the prestigious work of the telecommunications school which only accepted around 12 percent of its applicants. In addition to scenes of James walking around commercial areas of Kuala Lumpur, he's shown both at his home village and at the telecommunications center. We see James arriving at his village in a canoe and walking among the flimsily built homes and interacting with his family. At the telecommunications center, James and other students are seen working with telephone, radio and television equipment, as well as putting up telephone lines outside the school. Rescue in NubiaThis film, narrated by Alistair Cooke, documents the movement of the Abu Simbel temples to prevent their complete submersion in Lake Nasser, which was created by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. Around one third of the film is devoted to a short history of the building of the temples, their rediscovery in the nineteenth century, and how the structures were created. UNESCO led a coalition of 50 countries for its safe movement and the film depicts the various proposals for its relocation. The work, which was done from 1964 to 1968, turned out to be one of the greatest challenges of archaeological engineering in history. The rest of the film is devoted to the removal process. The enormous statues in front had to be entirely covered in sand before the mountain above and behind them could be removed, and we see heavy machinery moving earth, installation of internal support scaffolding and the temples being covered. The temples were ultimately cut into 16,000 blocks (no explosives were used) , averaging around 20 tons each and workers are shown cutting blocks of stone. Cranes are shown moving those blocks, ultimately placing them over 200 feet above and 650 feet back from the Nile. The film ends with the project director discussing the hope that “we would establish a new concept that there are some sacred places in the world which belong to all of us and which all of us must preserve and to which all of us must have access. ” Sure enough, the Abu Simbel relocation led to the adoption of the World Heritage Convention in 1972. In Search of MyselfFilmed in 1964 or 1965, this film shows Nigeria at a crossroads as it transitioned from a mostly farming economy to one that was much more technologically advanced, juxtaposing scenes of urban Lagos with rural inhabitants using “talking drums. ” The story is told from the perspective of a number of important Nigerian authors and artists. Some of those interviewed include a 34 year old Chinua Achebe, Amos Tutuola (who gave a short reading from his “The Palm Wine Drinkard”) and Cyprian Ekwensi. Duro Ladipo, the opera composer, is also interviewed and there are several minutes of footage depicting one of his productions in a town square. This item is offered by Langdon Manor Books, LLC, antiquarian booksellers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and/or photos and we will respond promptly. We package our items carefully, ship daily, and have a no hassle returns policy--your satisfaction is guaranteed. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) , the International League of Antiquarian Booksllers (ILAB) and the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) and adhere to their rules of ethics.