just saw "book of kings" and am still affected by its stillness and openness, fragility and timelessness. shorts are rarely acts of cinema, american shorts rarely poetic. the only other one i have seen this year that i felt moved to comment on, little failures, was similarly out of place in this way. the only film i can see when i close my eyes to compare it to is the japanese film "afterlife" -- and even then only in afterlife's speechless outdoor scenes. and yet, book of kings' characters are the essence of america: first, second, and third generation new yorkers who retain the magic and wisdom of their homeland, the whispers on the wind that they can miraculously hear over the roar of the engine on the staten island ferry. it warrants mutiple viewings, as i know there's more there i missed the first time. yet i am left satisfied by the story, a statement i can make about fewer and fewer films.
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