Top Picks: 'Francofonia' on DVD and Blu-ray, Paul Simon's 'Stranger to Stranger,' and more

HBO pays tribute to Muhammad Ali, The New Yorker’s The Author’s Voice podcast features authors such as Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, and Lauren Groff reading their work aloud, and more top picks.

Courtesy of Music Box Films

Plundered art

The film Francofonia, a documentary about the Louvre during World War II, includes director Alexander Sokurov’s musings on how great art becomes the spoils of war as well as staged scenes of Napoleon strolling through the museum. It shows that the plunder of ancient artifacts in the Middle East is only the latest in a litany of such outrages. “Francofonia” is available June 28 on DVD and Blu-ray.

AP/File

Tribute to a great

”You cannot overstate anything on the subject of Muhammad Ali,” narrator Liev Schreiber says during HBO’s tribute to the boxing legend. Muhammad Ali: In Memoriam not only depicts Ali’s success in the boxing ring but also discusses milestones of history such as his refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam War and his stance on civil rights. See the video on HBO’s website.

An author’s words

Reading a well-told story is always a pleasure, but hearing the story directly from the writer takes the experience to another level. The New Yorker’s The Author’s Voice podcast features authors such as Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, and Lauren Groff reading their work aloud. Find it at http://www.newyorker.com/series/the-authors-voice-podcast

Siblings and sheep

Rams, which is written and directed by Grímur Hákonarson, stars Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson as two brothers who both tend sheep and who are faced with a crisis. “Rams” is a one-of-a-kind movie, not only because of its subject but also because of its shape-shifty tone. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray June 28.

Reborn Simon

At age 74, Paul Simon sounds energized and reborn on Stranger to Stranger, his 13th solo release and the first in five years. Unusual rhythms and fascinating sounds lay the foundation for Simon’s sardonic and/or wistful lyrics, and he’s in excellent voice here – robust, witty, and fully engaged. And though you aren’t left humming any new melodies, the real reward is that there’s a new Simon record at all, especially one this good. “And when at times my words desert me/ Music is the tongue I speak,” he sings on “Proof of Love.” Word.

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