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Report from the Woodstock Film Festival 

Rushing from Alec Baldwin to a world premiere documentary

I went to pick up my press credentials at the Woodstock Artists Association and saw Alec Baldwin with a group of notable festival stars, all lined up for a photo op. Mr. Baldwin looked fit, much thinner than he does on TV, modest and jubilant. When the photo shoot ended, Alec passed close to me –within 15 inches – while I pretended not to notice.

My credentials, incidentally, were supplied by a woman named Sierra Slaughter. I told her I was rushing to see Magnificent Burden: A Love Story About Parenting. “It’s fabulous,” she said. (Sierra had seen the screener.) She was right. And this was the world premiere! A documentary about a young boy with a severe neurological disease sounds unappetizing, but actually Magnificent Burden is an action-adventure-thriller, set in upper-class LA. Everything Daniel Craig is pretending to experience as James Bond, Ren really goes through every day. Walking across the floor, for him, is like escaping three trained assassins. It brings tears to your eyes to see a four-year-old indomitable hero – who is, in fact, often dressed as Spiderman.

The best movies today sit modestly on the margins of film festivals like silent janitors.

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