Bookwars

"Very Good"

Bookwars Review


There are a million stories in the naked city, and a new documentary from Jason Rosette does a remarkable job at ferreting out one of them -- and where you'd least expect it.

BookWars examines the strange and unexpectedly intense world of street booksellers in Manhattan -- specifically, a little stretch of 4th Street near NYU, where otherwise unemployed types set up an 8-foot table, covered with treasures of the printed word.

Rosette tells the story from the inside, having spent three years on 4th, selling precious volumes of Dostoyevsky, Kerouac, and Kierkegaard. We meet his colleagues, who range from surprisingly well adjusted to almost completely insane. And we discover the origins of the books -- estate sales, libraries, the trash, and even other street sellers when they inevitably wash out.

But Rosette's tale is especially remarkable from several perspectives. First, the streetwise merchandising tactics you learn in BookWars' 79 minutes teach you more about business than any MBA program. Second, the socio-political microscope the booksellers find themselves under when Giuliani's "Quality of Life" program is introduced (thus attempting to whisk them off the sidewalks) makes a powerful statement about who programs like these are really helping out. Corporate America and academia are the understated targets as the independent street booksellers are gradually given less and less "official" space in which to operate.

While Rosette's over-earnest narration can get thick at times and the finale feels a tad dismissive, his story is never short of enthralling. Altogether, it's a fresh break from more sanitized documentary filmmaking, giving us a unique look into a part of life I've always wondered about.

War, what is it good for?



Facts and Figures

Run time: 79 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th June 2000

Distributed by: New Video Group

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.