Now Playing in L.A. and New York: Edward Norton's Obama Documentary (UPDATE)

It's been called the most anticipated (if not especially revelatory) documentary of the year: By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, which had a private screening earlier this week teasing its Nov. 3 premiere on HBO. But why wait until November when HBO is qualifying the film for an Oscar this weekend in Hollywood? (UPDATE: And New York as well, hiding in plain sight... more after the jump.)

As per the network's custom and Academy rules, By the People will quietly spend a week-long theatrical residency at the Laemmle Sunset 5. It's not the usual qualifying run either, with a couple of matinee screenings per day sprinkled in the afternoon; this has a dedicated screen with four showings per day. (Incidentally, the theater's advertised 130-minute running time contradicts the 100-minute cut reported in the earlier Variety write-up.) For a change, it's kind of like HBO wants you to see it now.

Academy rules also require a Manhattan engagement, which HBO usually books at the same time as its L.A. runs. I don't see it listed at the usual Washington Heights repository for such radar-dodging exploits; I could very well have missed it last week, or it could still be forthcoming. I'll check into that, but meanwhile, Angelenos, enjoy your preview. And send feedback as you like.

UPDATE 3:39 p.m. EDT: A tipster sends word that By the People is screening five times a day after all at the Landmark Sunshine in Manhattan. Enjoy!

· Sunset 5 [Laemmle]

· Sunshine Theater [Landmark]



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