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Films Worth Seeing

Burma VJ. VJ means video journalist. VJs were amidst the protesting crowds in Rangoon in 2007, filmimg when the police weren’t watching. A stirring and somewhat scary documentary of people, including Buddhist monks, asserting their rights at the risk of their lives. (Reviewed 6/17/09)

Seraphine. A beautiful recreation of an extraordinary woman. Seraphine Louis was a town drudge who secretly painted in her room at night. Her work now hangs in museums. Yolande Moreau is splendid as the housemaid-artist. Martin Provost directed wonderfully. (7/1/09)

Summer Hours. A gentle yet acute account of social change in France as the heirs decide what to do with a complicated legacy that includes the old family home. Olivier Assayas understands his characters, including a teen-age girl who manifests her own changes. (6/17/09)

24 City. In a Chinese city a huge factory has been dismantled to make way for a housing project. This documentary--with some actors in it!--explores the surprising feelings of some of the workers who are losing their jobs. A fitting film from a country of contradictions. (7/1/09)

By Stanley Kauffmann