American Life (Alan Berliner) Movies on DVD
Splicing together audiotapes and home movie footage from over 150 different families, documentarian Alan Berliner turns his yard sale treasure trove into "The Family Album" (1986), a fascinating chronicle of American homelife from the '20s to the '50s, tracking the family's changing role and the universal experiences from childhood to adulthood. Next, delving into his family's past, Berliner looks at the life of an "Intimate Stranger" (1991)--his grandfather, Joseph Cassuto, a Palestinian Jew who worked for a Japanese cotton company. Berliner then examines the life of his father, a 79-year-old retired sportswear manufacturer, in "Nobody's Business" (1996). What begins as a study of an ordinary man becomes a drama of life choices and real-life family conflicts. Five-disc set also includes "The Sweetest Sound" and "Wide Awake" (2006). 5 1/4 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English; bonus shorts; interviews; more.
This quirky work from documentarian Alan Berliner studies the different facets of peoples' names, as he sets out to track down every other Alan Berliner in the world and then brings 12 of them--from a Seattle social worker to a Belgian filmmaker--together. What results is a funny and insightful look into what makes up one's identity and the various connotations suggested within a name. 60 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; biographies; interactive menus; scene access.
Documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner ("The Sweetest Sound") explores the predicament of being a seemingly incurable insomniac in this intimate self-portrait. A collage-like experience of archival footage, confessional home movies, interviews with sleep experts, and candid input from his friends and family, the film shows how the self-professed "night owl" can marshal extraordinary creativity while his condition troubles those closest to him. 79 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.