Pick of the week: “Exit Through the Gift Shop” — My full review is here. Street artist Banksy’s playful (and possibly apocryphal) documentary about a graffiti artist wannabe who ends up becoming more successful than his ideals is a wicked satire on the artist in the age of branding.
“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives“ — My full review is here. This strange and beautiful Thai film is like a dream, cryptic one moment and emotionally resonant the next, as an old man facing death welcomes in ghosts and previous lives, including a talking catfish. I’m still not sure what the film is trying to tell us, but I think it’s trying to comfort us.
“Hannah Arendt” — My full review is here. The great thinker and New Yorker writer is chronicled, defending her “banality of evil” thesis of the Nazis against the approbations of friends and colleagues.
“The English Patient” — I miss Anthony Minghella. His beautiful adaptation of the Michael Ondaajte novel captures its interlocking stories and doomed romantic heart beautifully, as ordinary people find their desires thwarted by the march of nations.
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” — Julian Schnabel’s adaptation of the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, about being almost totally paralyzed by a stroke, should be a downer. Instead, it’s a luminous and almost joyful ode to whatever drops of life we can savor.