Robinson in Ruins

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The complaint, issued loudly from the upper balcony, was clear enough to get laughs from the deadened crowd at Alice Tully Hall: "Can anybody tell me what the hell is going on here?" Already, roughly forty minutes of the sole public screening of Patrick Keiller's stultifying cine-essay had passed, and while such movies require more patience of their audience, Robinson in Ruins is a case of willful obtuseness, both on the part of the filmmaker (who swaddles gorgeous 35mm footage of British nuclear silos and poppy fields with a dull Vanessa Redgrave narration) and the festival's selection committee, squandering the chance to introduce us to a stronger work.—Joshua Rothkopf

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