The results of Wiseman’s openmindedness can be unexpectedly entertaining. The scenes of the Dean of Discipline in HIGH SCHOOL sternly lecturing a minor offender — ‘We are out to establish that you are a man and that you can take orders’ — are both hilarious and sobering. And while you probably won’t want to look at a lamb chop for a few days after seeing MEAT, about a Colorado packing plant, you may also laugh at the absurdly hardnose bargaining session between the union butchers and their obtuse, Marine-tough boss trying to outmanoeuvre each other. In these and his other films Wiseman does not merely photograph reality (as if that were ever possible). By calling his work ‘reality fictions,’ he implicitly underlines the vast amount of patient editing that is the crux of his art… [He] does extend our understanding of what happens to people — an awkward GI recruit or a not-very-bright student or an emotionally hung-up policeman — when they become trapped in institutional situations not of their making. In that sense he belongs less to the tradition of the populist romantics, Grierson and Flaherty, than to literary realists (and pessimists) like Zola and Dreiser.
–Clancy Sigal, [London] Spectator
BERKELEY A Film by Frederick Wiseman
Zipporah Films is pleased to announce DVD sales of Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary film, AT BERKELEY.
"I can’t think of another film portrait of higher education that matches this one for comprehensiveness, intellectual depth, and hope.” -David Denby, The New Yorker
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