|In Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery, a restorer cleans a painting at the National Gallery in London. (Courtesy of Zipporah Films and the New York Film Festival.)|
When introducing Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery at the New York Film Festival press screening yesterday, John Wildman (senior publicist) quipped that at three hours, it qualified as a “Wiseman short.” Several of the filmmaker’s documentaries run four hours, and Domestic Violence I and II, set in the Tampa police department and criminal court, run nearly six, yet like much of his work, these films are riveting portraits of private and public institutions. During his long career, Wiseman has also taken his two-person crew abroad for such films as La Comédie-Française (1996, 223 minutes) and La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (2009, 158 minutes). All of his documentaries are classic, fly-on-the-wall perspectives of the sort that are a rarity today.
My interview with Frederick Wiseman for La Danse, which appeared in Cineaste, is under "Archives" to the left of this post.