Fri, Nov 8
Thu, Nov 14
Frederick Wiseman, 2013
USA | 244 minutes
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From 1967 to the present, Frederick Wiseman has built one of the most formidable bodies of work in cinema. His masterfully constructed documentaries (Wiseman has a sense of structure and of character to rival that of any fiction filmmaker) have examined the inner workings of institutions, undertakings and ways of life great (Welfare) and small (Boxing Gym), joyous (La Danse) and harsh (Near Death). In his new film, he looks at the University of California, Berkeley, as always from multiple angles – the administrators as they try reconcile the school’s storied past with its fiscally grim present, the students as they try to reconcile their ideals with the realities of their world, the maintenance staff, the local shops and restaurants – in order to arrive at a portrait that is rich in detail and epic in scope. Wiseman, now a very youthful 83, is one of our most vigorous filmmakers. He is also one of our greatest.