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Brave New West
Brave New West
Actor: Jim Stiles
Director: Doug Hawes-Davis;Drury Gunn Carr
Genres: Drama, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 28min

Jim Stiles moved to socially-conservative Moab, Utah in the mid-1970s from Kentucky. In 1989 he began publishing the politically-progressive Canyon Country Zephyr entirely by himself. Widely recognized as one of the best i...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Jim Stiles
Director: Doug Hawes-Davis;Drury Gunn Carr
Genres: Drama, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Drama, Biography, Science & Technology
Studio: High Plains Films
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 10/31/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

If you love wilderness and the West...
Cather-lover | The Plains, United States | 12/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'd probably give the video a 5 except that it is not Close-Captioned. Received this as a gift and I'm thrilled with it but being hearing-impaired I've had to strain to understand most of the dialogue. Apart from that the film is well-done, particularly well edited bringing together a number of characters in a meaningful way and creating a good flow. I'd never heard of Jim Stiles and don't know how I missed him!

Like most I am a huge fan of Edward Abbey and consider the Moab area, particularly Canyonlands, as the most spectacular desert in the country. Not only is this a great profile of Stiles but also of men introduced by Stiles to us. The Stiles story is the troubled story of people in conflict over an [mis-]understanding of the nature of wild places. For me wild places always means solitude and so, yes, tourism can be just as much a violation of the wild as is development. High Plains productions...great documentary, story well told. And, the extra 1950's film of the Colorado River canyon before the Glen Canyon Dam screwed it up is fabulous, worth the price of the DVD alone! Thank you for including it."
The Heart of the Zephyr
Brent R. Swanson | Crooper, Illinois | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before sitting down to this movie, you ought to seek and read the book of the same title, in which Jim Stiles collects his thoughts from 20 years of editorials and articles from the "Canyon Country Zephyr," and chronicles how both a small Utah town and an activist movement lost both their way and their souls.

In the book, Moab becomes a metaphor for what's happening in the American West at large. This movie, however, isn't so much an explication of the book as it is of the man who wrote it, his circle of friends, and his adopted home. Jim Stiles became intoxicated with Southern Utah as a youth, worked as a seasonal ranger at Arches National Park in the early '80s, and drifted into activism by way of acquaintance and then friendship with Ed Abbey, as well as becoming a cartoonist for the Abbey-inspired Earth First! But Stiles also became acquainted with his neighbors in Moab, as well as visitors like Herb Ringer, an expert photographer and profound memorialist. He found himself as interested in having a dialog with somebody as he was in supporting a cause, preferring to spend a day disagreeing, if need be, but ending the day as friends.

Unfortunately, the opposing factions in the environmental preservation debate have become further polarized in the years since Stiles launched the "Canyon Country Zephyr." This movie makes some strides at humanizing the debate by introducing us to some of the faces and voices, including Ken Sleight, Dr. Rich Ingebretsen, and archival footage of Ed Abbey. It would have been nice to have had more footage or photographs of the pre-1990s Moab, but there's an eyeful of the current scene: condos going up where trees and pastures once predominated.

The movie is supplemented by an Ed Abbey lecture from 1988, showing the author in rare form; and also by a home movie travelogue filmed and edited by Henry Clark, chronicling a float trip into Glen Canyon before the atrocity of Lake Powell. A second disk features several documentary short subjects from High Plains Films that make a call for environmental activism. The home movie is presented as silent as it was filmed, but you can remedy that at home by playing some Katie Lee tracks along with it.

If this region of the American West interests you, this DVD set is indispensable. Coupled with the book of the same title, it might serve as a wake-up call for the remainder of the West, if not the entire nation."