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Films Worth Seeing

Burma VJ. VJ means video journalists, and several of them were in the midst of the anti-government protests in Rangoon in 2007. The street crowds, including many Buddhist monks, risked their lives by objecting to new government price tags, and some of the protesters were killed. This documentary is a scary tribute to courage. (Reviewed 6/17/09)

Il Divo. Paolo Sorrentino’s fictional but factual biopic about Giulio Andreotti, the former Italian prime minister. Brilliantly done. The contrast between the taciturn Andreotti and the film’s dazzling style is only one of the picture’s pleasures. (5/20/09)

Jerichow. Benno Furmann is outstanding as the sensual young man in this German take on The Postman Always Rings Twice. Furmann and Christian Petzold, the subtle director, and the other two actors in this triangle of sex and murder give the familiar story contemporary tension. (6/3/09)

Summer Hours. The French director Olivier Assayas treats social change--the differing attitudes toward the past, for instance--in this very engaging account of the fate of a family’s legacy. The mood is gentle, the acting excellent, the thematic points converyed exquisitely. (6/17/09)

Stanley Kauffmann is the film critic of The New Republic.

By Stanley Kauffmann