Private Fears in Public Places(Coeurs): A fake movie snowfall out of Josef von Sternberg's dreams blankets this gorgeous ensemble comedy-drama about the difficulty of forging new loves late in life. Directed by Alain Resnais with a formal rigor and brisk elegance that should shame filmmakers five decades younger, its combination of golden-age gloss and transparently theatrical design makes it more accessible than Resnais's form-breaking early films of the Nouvelle Vague era. Even so, it failed to reach the audiences that have eagerly embraced, say, Patrice Leconte's diverting trifles. Too bad: On television the beauty of Eric Gautier's cinematography will be diminished, though not extinguished.
Urim and Thummim: This memorably odd doc by Dub Cornett and Dancing Outlaw director Jacob Young — the story of three men who claim to have found an Old Testament portal on the 99-cent sale rack at a Madison, Tennessee Goodwill superstore — made its debut at the 38-year-old Nashville Film Festival this past April, wedged between movies as diverse as Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth and David Alford and Robert Archer Lynn's accomplished one-take thriller Adrenaline. Last month it played the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, where no less an admirer than Werner Herzog reportedly dismissed its critics as "retarded." Will you ever see it? The movie itself provides an answer: Stranger things have happened.