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With: Elvis Costello, Patti Smith
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 197
Date: 10/13/2017

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Rock of Pages

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After winning an honorary Oscar for his exemplary career, the 87 year-old Frederick Wiseman keeps going with his fly-on-the-wall explorations of American institutions, this time with Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. I was excited to see some of the inner workings of the library, and they are here, but, sadly, this 3 hour and 17-minute film spends a great deal of time on dull meetings discussing the library's finances. (Even some of the people sitting at these tables look like they'd rather be somewhere else.) However, there are plenty of moments that are fascinating and inspiring, as we watch ordinary New Yorkers trying to better themselves, or listening to authors discussing the issues that are most concerning to them. Elvis Costello and Patti Smith both appear, giving on-stage talks to starstruck library patrons.

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