So “Finding Dory” is political now. “Finding Dory.” The new-ish Pixar movie. It was the film Donald Trump was watching last weekend while protesters raged against his “Muslim ban” — a nice, animated delight about families being reunited, screened in the White House while real ones were being torn apart outside. We long for a simpler time, when light, funny, creative entertainments — featuring a talking octopus driving a truck — didn’t suddenly seem topical. Anyway, of course the Big Cheeto didn’t get the messages about how we work better together, how we should look out for each other, how the real villains are heartless systems that keep us apart. So, parents, sit your kiddies in front of this. That way they can learn lessons they certainly won’t be getting from the new President of the United States.
Speaking of the immigration ban: Among the many currently blocked from entering our country is Ashgar Farhadi, one of the world’s finest filmmakers, who just happens to hail from Iran. He won’t be attending this year’s Academy Awards, at which his latest — the excellent “The Salesman,” now in select theaters — is nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film. If you don’t live in a city showing it, you can head to FilmStruck and watch “A Separation,” a Farhadi that already did win an Oscar, back in 2011. An Ibsen-esque drama about a divorcing couple who inadvertently almost destroy a low-income family, it betrays its maker as a deep humanist, insightful about how good people can’t always control their worst instincts. It’d be a masterpiece even if it wasn’t, in its way, yet another “movie of the moment.”
It wouldn’t be our pick for best film of the aughts — we’d bully for “Zodiac,” ourselves — but David Lynch’s 2001 mystery-cum-mindf— was named, by a tony BBC poll, the finest piece of cinema from the previous decade. It’s a totally worthy pick — one of Lynch’s most elusive yet seductive works, not to mention endlessly rewatchable. Originally made as a TV pilot, it was rejiggered as a movie when French financiers came to the rescue, giving Lynch the cash to tack on an ending. He changed nothing of the first 2/3rds, and one of the richest ways to watch it is as a TV show, with clear spots for commercial breaks and storylines that will never be resolved, that eventually turns into a wackadoodle movie. Think of it as the best both of both worlds.