Jason Rosette

USA, 2000, 79 min

The result was Bookwars, a no-budget doc filmed on various formats, depending on what cameras he could borrow. Filming while he was still working as a bookseller gave him unique access to, and knowledge of, the subjects’ lives. However, perhaps because he is too involved himself, there seems to be some lack of judgement of his own material.

Rosette’s footage – 200 hours of original material edited into 73 minutes – is marked by a lot of shooting at random. To structure and connect it all, he includes his own explanatory voiceover. This does improve the story’s flow, but with footage of a more illustrative nature, the result is a film that tells more than it shows. The strong point of the film is that it allows the otherwise anonymous booksellers to come forward as individuals. They are very knowledgeable about books and have chosen this profession because of the freedom and satisfaction of working for oneself rather than slaving away at a regular job. Unfortunately however, Slick Rick, Pete, Polish Joe and all the others never become real acquaintances, as Rosette chooses to talk about them rather than show their lives. Pete is the only one we get closer to, as we are invited home to visit him.

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