Film, captivating, but redundant. It is always exciting to dive into a film by Frederick Wiseman.
It is a sacred cow, a totem before which we prostrate. Against it, criticism is rare. These are the same tributes discrete repeating each output. It is treated as a museum it really is of bad taste to criticize. Anyway if you’re going to see a documentary of 3 hours on the New York public library signed Wiseman, this is not to say that you’re le, you return to find out if you can see the projectionist.
Yet, it is a wrong and not to be overlooked. For the work of an author is alive, it must be criticized, picked apart, analyzed. Another reason for this non-critical is that it is so far away from the standards, so far away from the general public, that it would pass for a burst on an ambulance. A little unforgivable offense against the culture. This distrust of the public causes which are very factual, aridity, austerity, and the duration are the main traits.
Yet his films have not always done 3h. Those of his first period, portraits sharp and racy of the deep dysfunction of american institutions, did not exceed the 1 hour 30. His camera, influenced by the reports, twining, responding with empathy and precision to the present reality. It is then that the term is being stretched, as the camera became fixed, that the plan became sequence. Up to make a film from 6 o’clock in 89, Near Death (On the hospital, Beth Israel, Boston).It seems that, since The ballet of the Paris opera, his work has entered a new period. The assembly has evolved, the cutting plane is appeared. The duration of it, without actually having changed, took on a new meaning. Since this film, he focuses on places that he admired. Places of culture and entertainment (opera, The Crazy Horse, the National Gallery), places of diversity and integration (Boxing Gym, At Berkley, In Jackson Heights). All except Boxing Gym 94 min, with the exception which confirms the rule, go beyond the 2 hours, stretching to 3 hours for the majority. There is an idea embodied, but to the purely theoretical : the higher the place is rich of humanity, sip culture, filled with diversity, the longer it will take to the film, to the strip in a comprehensive manner.
The last in date, EX LIBRIS, on the New York public library seems perfectly suited to it. These many rooms, its visitors, the basement, this will be accessible to all… of honey for Wiseman. But he is faced with a problem of photogenic major. Even for this documentary that we think we can save by this aspect of the film, film a library room studious is complicated. Reading is nice but a bit austere in the image. He deals, indeed, in two flash sequences. With a bit of exaggeration, one could say that the library is found deprived of its centre. To remedy this small amputation, it multiplies the scenes of conferences, meetings, leaders,… It has the advantage to present an angle that we don’t know; at night, it is university popular.
It organises a cultural resistance to a world that has cold stupidity. Unfortunately, this multiplication is redundant and beard a little bit in the 3rd hour. It is not that the questions and answers session ofElvis Costello is uninteresting, quite the contrary. But this is the fifth of the film, staged in the same way. This contrasts with his previous, In Jackson Heights. The popular area of New York because of its surface area is more rich, more deep. Ca third hour opened up new doors. Our attention purring was the second blow in its streets, sometimes quiet and sometimes electric.
Remains the curious bewitchment, the sensation of comforter that survives the boredom in his latest movies. The time is not the same, as if it had its unit of measurement personal. It is the same sensation that one can have in front a film by Rozier. Perhaps there was there a coefficient of diffraction, a mathematical curve, a volute with two strangers, named the Wiseman.
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• Achievement : Frederick Wiseman
• Scenario : Frederick Wiseman
• Release Date : November 1, 2017
• Duration : 3h17min