Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Four new documentaries unearth old dreams and nightmares

Hollywood movies usually ask the question: What if? Four new documentaries ask: What was it about? How was it? And what can we learn from it? Fortified by various arts council grants, young film makers have scoured archives and garages for old footage and tracked down veterans of quixotic campaigns. Their subjects range from radical idealists to a literary anarchist to the dream of commerce at the 1939 New York World's Fair. But their object is always the same: to train a sympathetic camera on those...

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