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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.