Thursday, April 20
(1971) Eight stinking summer weeks at Fort Knox of personal hygiene classes, weapons drills, bayonet practice, marching, chemical warfare, disciplinary action, and counseling sessions – the last needed for a misfit private so hapless he attempts suicide. 16mm. Approx. 89 mins.
“Populated with achingly young men as they become a marching, shooting, ‘Yes, sir’-ing unit. It’s a stark, dehumanizing process filled with bracingly human moments.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“Fred Wiseman makes documentaries better than Napoleon made war, and his latest — Basic Training — might even make Napoleon nostalgic…”
– Bud Collins, The Boston Globe
“Wiseman uncovers human conditions in inhuman situations… In the marching, the hand-to-hand combat, the loss of identity, Wiseman, without narration, conveys the humor and sadness of the situation. He not only imparts the essence of military basic training, he latches on to young men thrust into maturity, some before their time. It is a gripping experience.”