EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
12:15 4:00 7:45
Wednesday, September 13 - Tuesday, September 26
PRODUCED, DIRECTED, AND EDITED BY FREDERICK WISEMAN
FREDERICK WISEMAN IN-PERSON SEPTEMBER 13 & 14 AT THE 7:45 SHOWS
Frederick Wiseman cracks open institutions: the military, the insane asylum, the high school, the police, the welfare system, the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Gallery of London, and now – in his 43rd film in 50 years - the New York Public Library, an institution eminently worthy of his immersive style. If you thought libraries are just repositories for books, you’re in for a big, wonderful surprise. The NYPL owns (and makes accessible) millions of images; sponsors lectures by people like Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, and Ta-Nehisi Coates; circulates a growing collection of e-books; maintains a vast archive of materials not available online; and gives classes in digital technology. The magnificent Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (and 5th Avenue at 42nd Street) is the spine of the film, but equally vital is the role of branch libraries that act as community centers for civic life. “Libraries are the pillars of our democracy” says Toni Morrison – as Wiseman’s opus, EX LIBRIS, makes abundantly and fascinatingly clear.
USA • 2017 • 197 MINS. • ZIPPORAH FILMS
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N.B. September 6–14 at Film Forum: The Complete Wiseman Part II, a retrospective of the filmmaker’s work from 1986-1996.