BOOKS AND ARTS NOVEMBER 3, 2009
Films Worth Seeing
Chelsea on the Rocks. A friendly, slightly woozy documentary about a famous New York hotel. The Chelsea, for a hundred years, has been a special haven for all kinds of artists--some very eminent--and has preserved an old-time air. Now that it is at risk of going, this film is a kind of freehand memorial. (11/4/09)
Disgrace. If there is such a thing as a quietly major film, this is one. J. M. Coetzee's distinguished novel has been made into a distinguished film, with John Malkovich excellent as a South African professor who tangles with one of his students. (10/24/09)
The Maid. She has worked for twenty-three years in a household of Santiago, Chile, and this film chooses to concentrate on her instead of the family--with some unexpected and some gratefully expected results. Authentic performances and fluent directing. (11/18/09)
Rembrandt's J'Accuse. Peter Greenaway's scintillating study of Rembrandt's Night Watch, in which he finds a coded mystery. His examination of the painting becomes cinema. Agree with his thesis or not, Greenaway's elegantly inventive directing and his pithy comments fascinate completely. (11/18/09)
Stanley Kauffmann is The New Republic's film critic.