While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. For National Library Week, we're showcasing films that capture the wistful magic and wonder of libraries and bookshops.
Ex Libris (2017)
In this gargantuan 197-minute film, prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman provides an in-depth look at the fourth-largest library in the world: the New York Public Library. Through a series of vignettes and interviews with both unknown and famous patrons like Patti Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Wiseman depicts the necessity of public institutions dedicated to knowledge. Kanopy.
The Booksellers (2019)
Executive produced and narrated by the inimitable Parker Posey, this charming documentary is a literary love letter to the sellers, auctioneers, writers and other bibliophiles who make up the rare book world of New York City. There's even a delightful anecdote from Fran Lebowitz about the time she lent a book to David Bowie. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Kanopy, Pluto TV, Vudu, YouTube.
The Public (2018)
When a blizzard blows through Cincinnati, unhoused patrons seek warmth and refuge in the public library past closing time, staging a sit-in. What begins as an act of civil disobedience snowballs into a standoff with riot police. Emilio Estevez writes, directs and stars in this social issue drama. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Peacock, Vudu, YouTube.
The Bookshop (2017)
The always lovely Emily Mortimer stars as a bookshop owner in this quaint feel-good drama set in a 1959 English coastal town. When her selling of books by incendiary authors like Ray Bradbury incites a cultural awakening in the conservative community, she faces opposition from a rigid grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and earns support from a book-loving recluse (Bill Nighy). Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Hulu, Kanopy, Philo, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube TV.
The only successful franchise about librarians, this made-for-TV adventure follows an Indiana Jones-esque academic named Flynn (Noah Wyle) who is offered a job at a mysterious library. When a magical artifact is stolen, it's up to him to embark on a globe-trotting adventure to reclaim it. Unofficial Mayor of Portland Kyle MacLachlan co-stars as a villainous cult leader. iTunes, Kanopy, Pluto TV, Roku, Tubi, Vudu.