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Film Review: Umberto Eco: A Library of the World

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Review written by Christine Merser for The Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta, Maine, where the movie will be showing this upcoming weekend.

"Libraries are men's common memory," Umberto Eco tells us, making it perfectly clear that books matter more than, well, almost anything. Umberto Eco: A Library of the World, documents the finest private library collection in the world, with a musical background you might remember from the fabulous film, Finding Forrester (which is a 'watch once a year film,' to be sure). It is a must-see film. Trust me.

Oh, the library! 50,000 books. And the additional rooms that the books call home. Go just to see the amazing spaces he called his library – his private library. And the historians who let us in on some of the secrets; books printed hundreds of years ago sit in his library in pristine condition, as if they came from Amazon's printers last week and arrived at Eco's doorstep a few hours later.

And yes, maybe you could watch it on streaming, but on the big screen? You are there, in person.

"And who is Umberto Eco again?" I hear you ask. He is a writer. Okay, not just a writer, but more accurately, a perfect wordsmith. If you're interested in complex fiction with perfect prose, read Foucault's Pendulum first, and then attempt The Name of the Rose, which is perhaps his most famous work. He died in 2015, just a year after filming this masterpiece, and his insights and thoughts will give you an insider exposure to one of the great thinkers of his generation. The other reason to see it? In an age where we value technology perhaps more than anything, it will remind you that books are not to be lost in the corner, like that old doll outgrown by our younger selves. --Christine Merser, Screen Thoughts


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