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Hump day recommendations

Concentrate deeply: with Vladimir Putin. Ten years ago, I donned a latex Putin mask in the middle of Red Square to set off this surreal 10-minute short film, “Vladimir Putin in Deep Concentration,” which confronts the Russian president directly with his own biography, mythology, and crimes. At the time, when the film screened at SXSW and elsewhere, Putin was “the most powerful man in the world.” Who could have imagined how it would play a decade later? – Alex

Read: “Women Talking,” by Miriam Toews. This powerful novel offers an imagined response to the real-life drugging and repeated raping of women in the Mennonite Manitoba Colony of Bolivia by the men in their community. The women have just a couple of days to ponder their fate – to stay or to escape – while grappling with the prospect of forgiveness and redemption of the men who attacked them. – Tracy

Read: “Group Portrait with Lady,” by Heinrich Böll. Winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize, Böll’s Cubist portrait of Leni Pfeifer and her friends, lovers, rivals, and admirers tells the story of Germany before, during, and after the chaos of World War II. The voice of the narrator/“author” can belong only to someone who survived it all. – Willis

Watch/do lines with: "Cocaine Bear." A ravenous black bear. High on blow dropped from a plane. In a forest in Georgia. Mayhem ensues. That's pretty much all you need to know before checking out this insane and also really funny film, sadly Ray Liotta's last. Enjoy. – Carlos

Watch: “All My Friends Hate Me.” In this British comedy-horror, Tom, now in his 30s, is excited about a weekend away with his university friends. But things don’t go to plan. Have Tom’s friends soured on him, or were things never how he thought they were? This creepy film will get you thinking about how others perceive you – and how you perceive yourself. – Gabrielle

Watch: “Kung Fury.” This English-language Swedish comedy short, a loving homage to ‘80s-90s video games and martial arts films, is the best investment of 31 minutes you’ll make if you’re in the mood for joyous, dumb fun. This underground internet phenom was funded through Kickstarter, showed at Cannes, and has a full-length sequel in production with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Fassbender. – Ben

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