The Booksellers

The Booksellers ★★★

I'll be the first to admit that I usually have a bias about documentaries focused on things I really care about (except for movies), so I put this off for a few months, despite the fact that I do collect books and that my beloved is connected to the market (not as dealer, though). To begin with, for some reason the director decided to use only talking heads and not narrator, yet didn't identify the people talking. He uses Fran Lebowitz as sort of the central voice of literary culture, but also never identifies her. I knew who she is, but anyone younger than I am I think wouldn't have any clue (I mainly recognize her from Letterman appearances, so that does indicate something). Also, it's wholly centered in NYC. Okay, that is a center, I get it, but then that limits the dealers and collectors and curators who might be approached. Ultimately, people like sort of shaggy and tired. Still, it does have some strong, even moving moments. The director was also the editor, and I think that's part of the problem. It needed more shaping and could stand to be guided by an outside perspective.

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