The quintessential moment in Souvenirs: The Many Worlds of Micky Wolfson comes early, as cameras follow Miami's mad museum benefactor on a shopping expedition. First possible acquisition: Queen Victoria's toilet. Next up: a wooden box bristling with small electrical wires, a piece of quack medical technology from the 19th century. Finally: a social-realist painting of a farmworker, muscles bulging heroically, the kind of thing that illustrated propaganda pamphlets of both the New Deal and Stalin's grandiose five-year agricultural plans. No discernible political, aesthetic or even chronological thread connects these three objects -- they barely seem to come from the same planet -- but Wolfson is delighted. ''This is so Wolfsonian,'' he murmurs. ``That's us.''
It's precisely this eclecticism and disregard for the stuffy rules of museum curation that make Miami Beach's Wolfsonian-FIU such a fascinating place and Souvenirs such a fascinating documentary. Armed with an enormous fortune and an abiding conviction that anything that interests him will interest the rest of us, Wolfson has created a museum that is among the most respected and definitely the most eccentric in the world. Souvenirs is the first attempt to get beneath its surface. Read my full review of Souvenirs in Monday's Miami Herald.