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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013

Home Movies/Out on Digital: Sept. 11

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Going Underground: Paul McCartney, the Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture

John is usually credited as the avant-garde Beatle, but this documentary argues persuasively for Paul. In the mid-’60s, when Lennon retreated to suburbia, McCartney lived in London and circulated in a milieu of Beat writing and Op Art. Much has been made of Lennon’s encounter with the legendary Indica bookshop and gallery, but McCartney not only financed the operation but hung the shelves. Going Underground’s interviews and archival footage illustrate a subculture that influenced all the Beatles, Ringo included.

1939 Battle of Westerplatte

Polish World War II movies are rare. 1939 Battle of Westerplatte is based on the true story of Polish troops holding out against the Germans for seven days under hopeless circumstances. At least as translated, the dialogue sounds stilted (“Fight them—and with precision!”). Some of the acting is wooden, yet the cinematography is beautiful and the point of view unusual. 1939 doesn’t flinch from depicting bravery and panic, insubordination and mental collapse during combat.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

Bergdorf Goodman is the epitome of luxury, occupying an entire block in the heart of Fifth Avenue. Scatter My Ashes is a fast-paced evocation of Manhattan glamour, a peek at the inner workings of America’s most palatial department store with testimonials from Giorgio Armani and other designers who clamor to get their work into Bergdorf. There are great stories, including the Christmas Eve when John and Yoko bought 70 fur coats. The store’s window displays are works of art.