Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman – Welfare (1975)

: the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity must look out for your own welfare
a : aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need
b : an agency or program through which such aid is distributed Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Canal Zone (1977)

CANAL ZONE is about the people who live and work in the Panama Canal Zone and shows both the operation of the Canal and the various governmental agencies — business, military, and civilian — related to the functioning of the Canal and the lives of the Americans in the zone. The film includes sequences of ships in transit, the work of special canal pilots, aspects of the civil government, work of the military, and the social, religious and recreational life of the Zonians Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – The Garden (2005)

A documentary on Madison Square Garden. Filmed in 1997 and prevented from public screening by the operators of Madison Square Garden. Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017)

A look within the walls of the New York Public Library.

The director’s latest magisterial study of a public institution is a tribute to the power of education and the importance of community, characteristically ambitious yet surprisingly brisk.

Patience is a virtue; it is also a lion. One hundred and sixteen years old, the white marble beast has guarded the steps outside the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) with her identical counterpart, Fortitude. The principles they embody have sustained Frederick Wiseman across the half-century of his unique career, which arguably culminates in this, his 42nd documentary film. A quietly magisterial enterprise, over the course of 197 minutes it visits the myriad buildings and activities which serve the city under the NYPL’s banner and lion-head logo. Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – National Gallery (2014)

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman goes behind the scenes at the National Gallery in a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
This three-hour epic has no voiceover, no score and no added sound effects. The nearest thing to music is the drone of the polishing machines at dawn. In a richly detailed, beautifully nuanced portrait of the gallery’s working life, we are guided gently from board meeting to retouching workshop, from gallery floor, to seminar room, from the difficult financial decisions facing the charity’s executives to visitors’ awed appreciation of the exhibitions.
Combining a vivid sense of how vast the gallery’s many activities are with an eye for droll observational detail, the film reveals how the gallery works and its relations with its staff, public and paintings. Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Hospital (1970)

This 1970 Frederick Wiseman documentary was a 1994 National Film Registry selection by the National Film Preservation Board. In 1970, the 84-minute film won two Emmys-“Best News Documentary” and “Best Director.” Wiseman looked at life in a large urban hospital, detailing daily activities with his main focus on the emergency ward and outpatient clinic. Medical expertise, organizational considerations, availability of resources, and the nature of communications among staff and patients are all shown as factors in the delivery of appropriate health care. Pauline Kael (The New Yorker) wrote, “It is as open and revealing as filmed experience has ever been. You look misery in the eye…” ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Juvenile Court (1973)

Bob Stewart, Allmovie, wrote:
This 1973 Frederick Wiseman documentary, filmed at the Juvenile Court in Memphis, Tennessee, won the Columbia University School of Journalism’s 1974 Dupont Award for “Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.” In 144 minutes, Wiseman shows a wide variety of cases before the Memphis Juvenile Court, from child abuse and sexual offenses to armed robbery and foster home placement, and it examines such issues as the range and limits of choices available to the court, psychology of offenders, constitutional points, procedural questions, and community protection vs. the desire for rehabilitation. Read More »