Five Came Back (Laurent Bouzereau, 2017). Three-hour Netflix doc about Hollywood directors who made movies for the war effort, based on Mark Harris’s book. The five are Ford, Capra, Huston, Wyler, and Stevens, and all get a pretty fair shake in this account. The strategy of having five current directors comment on the history both limits and enlivens the story, depending on the moment. (Join us for Framing Pictures this Friday night at 7 at Scarecrow Video, and we’ll discuss the project in person.)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2015). A re-look at this hallmark of the Romanian New Wave shows it to be just as riveting as seeing it for the first time on the big screen. Equal parts Joseph Heller and Frederick Wiseman, the film is exacting in sketching its parade of passing characters, so many of them challenged in the basic business of having empathy for someone else.
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