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October 26, 2009


Frederick Wiseman is back, suckas

Frederick Wiseman

Also in the Times is a profile of Frederick Wiseman, the best documentarian a lot of people have never heard of (and MacArthur fellow!) His movies are all about institutions like schools, hospitals, welfare offices, mental institutions, police stations, the Army, and racetracks. Straight up edited unstaged video footage, with no voiceovers or talking heads or anything. He's the real deal.

I saw his 1968 movie High School my freshman year in college and remember having to reevaluate my own high school, which was Girl Scout camp by comparison. I sure felt lucky not to have had the stifling coke-bottle glasses guidance counselor and the lady gym teacher telling me how to have good posture. A lot of his movies were only aired on PBS and are still hard to find: there's nothing at Netflix yet, and you have to order DVDs direct from Zipporah Films, his distributor.

So if you get the chance, it's worth checking his stuff out. I've never seen his 1976 doc Meat, but you can pretty much imagine how that one goes.

He's about to turn 80, and is coming out with his second documentary about a ballet company, La Danse. MoMA is going to screen all his major movies next year, which is great.

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 8:03 PM | #

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