Primetime DVD Review: “Ken Burns: Here and There”

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Ken Burns: Here and There DVD cover

“Ken Burns: Here and There” Review by Suzanne 1/31/21

I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of documentaries, but I find this one particularly boring. It’s mostly just Ken and some other people talking about the town of Walpole, NH, where he’s lived since 1979. He goes on and on at length about how great living in a small town is and how important he feels it is. There are some mentions of his documentaries, too, of course, but the majority of the movie is not about that.

There isn’t very much about his family, aside from his talking about how much he loves his daughters. Seriously, it’s tedious. You’d have to be a Ken Burns groupie, or a fan of Walpole, to want to sit through this unbearable (and mercifully short) show. Perhaps they should have had Burns himself make the doc because his are not boring.

This is less than an hour long, and there are not features or specials. At least it does have an option for closed-captioning, unlike some PBS DVD’s.

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Below is a listing of the upcoming DVD/Blu-Ray releases from PBS Distribution slated for February.Every purchase helps support public television for all.

  • Ken Burns: Here and There – 2/2/21

Genre: Biography
Run Time: 57 min. on 1 disc – DVD
SRP: $24.99


Premieres on PBS Stations Beginning November 28

– New Documentary Reveals the Man Behind Acclaimed Documentary

Series Including The Vietnam War, Baseball,

The Roosevelts, The National Parks and the Upcoming Hemingway  –

Credit: Lisa Berg

KEN BURNS: HERE & THERE is a poetic and personal look inside the legendary filmmaker’s life and four-decade career. Footage of Burns at work and at home, interviews with close collaborators, and the profound observations of Burns himself provide illuminating insights into the man. KEN BURNS: HERE & THERE is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations beginning Saturday, November 28, 2020 (check local listings).

Burns reveals his life’s path, from struggling young filmmaker to award-winning director and producer of some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks, Country Music and The Vietnam War.

The importance of belonging, community and a sense of place emerge as themes in his life. He reflects on his own geographic touchstones, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the tiny town of Walpole, New Hampshire, the safe harbor where he arrived in 1979 and has lived and worked in “splendid isolation” since. Residents and friends attest to the town’s influence on the filmmaker and vice versa.

“My films all focus on the importance of place in our lives,” said Ken Burns. “As Dante shows in his kind and generous film about our work, small-town New Hampshire is critical to who we are as filmmakers, even as our team has expanded to include editors and filmmakers in other parts of the country. I’ve been very fortunate to work and live in a town that has embraced our filmmaking as part of its fabric. I am so happy to have a chance to share this story and am hugely appreciative of the attention the film has brought to our art and town.”

Behind-the-scenes video gives an inside look at the filmmaker’s process and attention to detail, from sound mixing to scoring sessions with musicians like Yo-Yo Ma to recording the voices of Edward Hermann, Josh Lucas, Paul Giamatti, the late Eli Wallach and others as they bring characters to life. Writer Duncan Dayton speaks movingly of their decades-long relationship as partners and friends.

Burns believes that film has the power to inspire people to action. He relates the impact of a New York Times story about an Idaho family who came to the city and walked the Brooklyn Bridge because “they’d seen a documentary on public television” about it. And the joy he felt when the U.S. Secretary of the Interior called to report that attendance had increased by 15 million visitors after The National Parks aired. “That was more than a third of our audience,” says Burns, “who got up off their duffs and went out and did something.”

KEN BURNS: HERE & THERE is a Hooligan Film Productions & Phantazma Pictures film in association with Rhode Island PBS. The film is directed and produced by Dante Bellini, Jr. The director of cinematography and editor is Eric Latek. Original music score and sound by Mauro Colangelo. Lighting and additional cinematography by David Zapatka.

PBS special programming invites viewers to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Viewer contributions are an important source of funding, making PBS programs possible. PBS and public television stations offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Ken Burns: Here and There

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