Since the 1960s, Boston filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has endeavored to document the human experience by exploring the institutions that structure our society. Whether it’s a museum, a courtroom, a mental hospital or a theater, Wiseman’s camera gives us privileged access to the unique individuals who make these institutions run. Each film is a challenging and deeply rewarding experience; we leave the theater with a better understanding of our world and a heightened sense of empathy for others.
On the 50th anniversary of Wiseman’s filmmaking debut, we celebrate his life and work by exhibiting all 40 of his films. Most are exhibited on 35mm or 16mm film.
Read more about Frederick Wiseman
In his director’s statement for In Jackson Heights, Wiseman remarks:
“I have, since I was a child, always been fascinated by the variety of human behavior. As an alleged adult making documentary films has been, for me, the perfect work. I get to not only record but to try to think about and organize my experience. I have been making an institutional series without any precise definition of institution. Sometimes the subjects of the films are the activities within a single building, sometimes a group of contiguous buildings, and occasionally a small or large geographic area … What I do is draw a ragged line around a building, group of buildings or a place and say that anything that happens within the boundaries of that arbitrarily selected line is fit for inclusion in the film. Outside the line is another film. The choice of this kind of filmmaking has made it possible to observe human activity and behavior in a very wide range of limited contexts and encounters.”
For more insight into Wiseman’s philosophy and the profound effect his work has had on the craft of filmmaking, watch his acceptance speech at the 2016 Governors Award Gala, and the speeches by Ben Kingsley and Don Cheadle paying tribute to the masterful documentarian.
Fans who plan to see a least three Wiseman films in the month of April can save by purchasing an April 3-Film Pass.
This film series is presented in collaboration with Frederick Wiseman and Zipporah Films.