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Sunday, July 27, 2003

Documentary heaven.

Swimming boldly against the blockbuster tide, I saw two great movies this week, Spellbound and Winged Migration. Spellbound, which follows a group of junior high spelling bee champions to the 1999 National Bee, is a perfect movie. Funny, complex, suspenseful, completely unexpected — and an understated but rich portrait of just how multicultural the United States really is. It also reminded me of my own disastrous spelling bee performance — back in the fourth grade — when I botched one round on "bicycle" and then lost another on "alligator." Ooh, such painful memories.

Winged Migration, meanwhile, is visually spectacular — a bird's-eye-view of bird life that I would love to see again and again, if I could only mute the banal New Age-meets-world music soundtrack and the almost content-free narration. ("Year after year, it is the same. One season is so short. And then it begins again. The birds take flight.") Seeing them, though, is worth the price of a ticket. The Web site includes a brief account of the innovative techniques used to make the film.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 July 2003 at 12:56 PM

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