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

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

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.