With rare exceptions (such as the films of Eisenstein and Vertov), cinema has proved a poor medium for conveying abstract ideas. Director Joseph Dorman, in this 1997 documentary on four New York intellectuals, does the next best thing: he mixes interviews with archival footage to give a sense of his subjects' lives and document their continuing conversation about what one calls “the great questions,” from their days as anti-Stalinist leftists at New York's City College in the 30s until the mid-90s. Often intercutting to show how the four—Irving Howe, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, and Daniel Bell—disagree, Dorman creates virtual conversations even among those who barely speak to each other. Howe admits their leftism was the product in part of their own reduced circumstances, and it's fascinating to see these former radicals, now tenured professors, utterly bewildered by the protests of the 60s. 107 min.