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Jimmy Carter: The Man From Plains

Some public figures have remarkable second acts -- among them, former President Jimmy Carter.

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He left office in 1980 so reviled, but re-established himself as roving diplomat and mediator, fair-elections monitor, prolific author and hands-on home-builder. In Jonathan Demme's profile, we see the 83-year-old Carter wearing all these hats and more as the man from Plains, Ga., hits the circuit to promote his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter meets some controversy -- albeit it relatively polite -- over the term "apartheid," and from some Jewish groups. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner gamely engages all comers, and even more graciously, answers the same questions repeatedly, providing each interviewer the courtesy of appearing freshly provocative. Demme provides only a smidgen of time to dissenters, and to any larger background on Carter, though the 1979 Begin-Sadat Camp David accord is revisited briefly. There’s not much in the way of dramatic narrative here: Mostly, Demme seems thrilled just to tag along, capturing the indefatigable Carter at work and in intimate asides. He stitches together an accessible, enjoyable portrait of one of America’s busiest retirees. Starts Fri., Jan. 11. Regent Square

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