In the DocYard


In a sense documentarians are the blue collar workers of the cinema world, doing the hard labor, getting their hands dirty dealing with reality, confronting the tough problems to make sure the system works.

And so that's one reason why "The DocYard", the documentary series at the Brattle Theatre, is such a fitting name. Documentarians are the stevedores of the screen, a category of filmmakers that the Boston area is particularly rich in. The DocYard people have taken advvantage of this resource, and every Monday since June have been screening  outstanding recent documentaries followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

And in keeping with this belabored working class metaphor, this week's entry is Patrick Shen's "The Philosopher Kings"  (2009), which investigates the lives and thoughts of those true wise men and women of academia, the custodians. Poignant, deftly assembled, uplifting, and uncompromising, it presents  kind of rosier real life versions of  the difficult genius in "Good Will Hunting." Focusing on a Vietnam vet at Cornell, an aspiring artist at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, a Haitian immigrant at Princeton, among others, the film celebrates ordinary people who don't impress so much by their words as by their deeds and lives.  They quietly emerge from the background, mop in hand, and demonstrate valor, virtue, and vision - the attributes that Plato sought in his Philosopher Kings.

The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Brattle, 40 Brattle St, Harvard Square. The director will be on hand to discuss.

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