Adam Resurrected. Set in an Israeli home for Holocaust survivors in the early 1960s, Paul Schrader’s offbeat film features a former Berlin comic, victim of the Nazis. Jeff Goldblum gives the role such subtly blended shades of pathos and mordant wit that he becomes a small vicar for large human dilemmas. (12/31/08)

Dust. A documentary from Germany, clever and gently surprising, precisely about its title -- the presence and persistence of dust. Invisible yet always striving to be visible, as one of the film’s scientists says, dust affects our lives in more ways than housekeeping regimen. (12/31/08)

A Christmas Tale. From France a tale that takes place at a family Christmas gathering but has more on its mind -- and it has a mind -- than jollity. Excellently acted, with Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch, it plumbs some depths of thought, resolution, and resignation. (12/24/08)

Wendy and Lucy. The American director Kelly Reichardt continues an interesting career with a seemingly unpromising idea that becomes beautiful. Young Wendy is driving to Alaska, with her dog Lucy, to start a new life. In an Oregon town Wendy loses her dog and finds perspective. (12/24/08)

--SK

By Stanley Kauffmann