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Frederick Wiseman is revered as one of today’s greatest living documentarians and filmmakers, having directed, produced, and edited more than 40 full-length films. In this special conversation with Christopher Ricks, hear how Wiseman tells stories about Western institutions, from the conditions that existed at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in Titicut Follies (1967), to the behind-the-scenes look at London’s National Gallery in National Gallery (2014), to his most recent film about a diverse neighborhood in Queens, New York, In Jackson Heights (2015).
Wiseman has crafted his documentary style for 50 years. As his ultimate goal is to create “movies that deal with the complexity of the world and that don’t simplify it for ideological or commercial gain” (WBUR), Wiseman does not use interviews, voice-overs, or interjections during scenes. As A.O. Scott in The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Wiseman is an artist. You don’t know what will happen next, which means you have to give the totality of your eyes, ears and mind to what is happening right now.” Join us as Wiseman discusses his signature style, process, and his award-winning career.
This conversation is the centerpiece of an MFA retrospective of all 40 Wiseman films to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his filmmaking debut.