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Save and Burn

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Directed by | Julian Samuel

Genre documentary  |  Length: 80mins  |  Year of production: 2004

Generally considered guardians of culture, Save and Burn reveals how libraries are subject to the ideologies of their time and place � and not above them, as might be assumed. The film assays the commercialization of libraries, the irresponsible weeding and closing of libraries, the excesses of copyright law, but most of all, the fact that the West has not recognized the Orient for much of its cultural heritage. Historically, libraries have been used to promote or inhibit democratic debate, and Samuel's extraordinary interviews with an immense range of senior librarians and collectors extends here to a discussion of the impact of the Patriot Act on the politics and surveillance which inflect libraries in the US today. This strikingly shot and intellectually commanding work includes exquisite footage of the Alexandrian Library, the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, and Bromley House in Nottingham. The second half of the film includes painful and expert accounts of the calculated destruction of libraries and cultural infrastructure in Palestine and Iraq in recent years by Israeli and USled occupying forces.