FRED WISEMAN’S CITY HALL AND WEDNESDAYS WITH WISEMAN
Sag Harbor Cinema is thrilled to announce a tribute to Fredrick Wiseman starting October 21st, with three retrospective special programs leading to the release of the great director’s latest film, City Hall on November 6th. Wednesdays With Wiseman and City Hall will be presented in SHC’s Virtual Cinema, accessible through www.sagharborcinema.org.
“I can think of very few storytellers that can match Fred Wiseman’s piercing eye, his intellect, his depth, his underlying humor and his insatiable curiosity. Calling himself “a fantasist” rather than a documentarian, for over 50 years Wiseman has led us through an exploration of the human experience- social, geographical and emotional- that has no equal in American Cinema”, says Sag Harbor Cinema Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, adding: “I am very excited to share this series with our audience -and even more to bring to SHC Fred’s new film, City Hall, a beautiful work that combines several strands of his past films and that is also incredibly timely”.
Wednesdays With Wiseman will feature a classic Frederick Wiseman film each week that will introduced by a conversation between Mr. Wiseman and fellow documentary filmmakers. The series will begin on October 21 with Academy Award winner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo) doing a pas-de-deux with Mr. Wiseman about Ballet (1995). Academy Award winner Errol Morris (the Fog of War) goes through the maneuvers with Mr. Wiseman on October 28 with Sinai Field Mission (1978), and Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) pay tribute to health care workers on November 4 with Hospital (1970).
One of the highlights of the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals City Hall is a fascinating, urgent portrait of democracy at work in Mr. Wiseman’s native Boston. Headed by earnest, progressive Mayor Martin Walsh, a diverse, passionate network of public servants works to keep Boston running while grappling with pressing issues like racial justice, affordable housing, climate action, and homelessness. City Hall is Mr. Wiseman’s 45th film. ,
In the director’s own words: “I made City Hall to illustrate why government is necessary for people to successfully live together. City Hall shows a city government offering a wide variety of important and necessary services to a major American city whose population exemplifies the history of diversity of America. The Boston city government is designed and strives to offer these services in a manner consistent with the Constitution and democratic norms. Boston’s city government is the opposite of what Trump stands for”.
ABOUT THE FILMS
Ballet (1995) 170 minutes
Ballet is a film about the American Ballet Theatre and shows choreographers, ballet masters and mistresses working with principle dancers, soloists and the corps de ballet as well as the administration and fundraising aspects of the Company.
Ballet, in its characteristic unadorned, unsentimentalized manner, remains unique, and its portrait of ballet dancers at work has no parallel. – Alan M. Kriegsman, The Washington Post
Starts October 21st , at www.sagharborcinema.org. Tickets are $ 8 for 7 days of access
Sinai Field Mission (1978) 127 minutes
Sinai Field Mission documents the routine activities of the diplomats and electronic technicians who operate the United States Sinai Field Mission, the early warning system established in 1976 to help carry out the disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel following the 1973 war.
Wiseman gives us a community. We sense the isolation, the harsh climate, the numbing drudgery of the paperwork… by filming the story of Sinai Field Mission from the inside out, by incorporating all of the elements that make it up rather than a rote narrative of what it does and how it came to be, Frederick Wiseman has once again brought an issue into focus. And we know and care a little bit more because of it. – James Brown, Los Angeles Times
Starts October 28th, at www.sagharborcinema.org. Tickets are $ 8 for 7 days of access
Hospital (1970) 84 minutes
Hospital shows the day-to-day activities in a large urban hospital with particular emphasis on the emergency ward and out-patient clinics.
The chief characteristic of all Wiseman’s films — and the source of their tremendous emotional impact — is his instinctive sympathy for people who must confront the specific, human effects of vast, impersonal human social forces… – Richard Schickel, Life
Starts November 3rd at www.sagharborcinema.org. Tickets are $ 8 for days of access
City Hall (2020) 275 minutes
City government touches upon almost every aspect of our lives. Most of us take for granted necessary services like sanitation, veterans affairs, elder support, parks, licensing bureaus, recordkeeping, as well a myriad of other activities that support the citizenry. In City Hall, through a series of his trademark masterfully edited vignettes, filmmaker Frederick Wiseman explores the inner-workings of the government of his native Boston. Headed by earnest, progressive Mayor Martin Walsh, a diverse, passionate network of public servants works to keep Boston running while grappling with pressing issues like racial justice, affordable housing, climate action, and homelessness.
Starts November 6th at www.sagharborcinema.org. Tickets are $ 12 for 7 days of access
ABOUT FRED WISEMAN
Since 1967, Frederick Wiseman has directed 45 documentaries—dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His films include Titicut Follies, High School, Welfare, Juvenile Court, Boxing Gym, La Danse, Ballet, Central Park, La Comedie Francaise, Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, and Monrovia, Indiana. He has directed a fiction film, The Last Letter (2002). His films are distributed in theatres and broadcast on television in many countries.
Wiseman also works in the theater. In Paris he directed “The Belle of Amherst,” the play by William Luce about the life of Emily Dickinson, and two plays at La Comédie Française—Samuel Beckett’s “Oh Les Beaux Jours,” and “La Dernière Lettre,” based on a chapter of Vasily Grossman’s novel, Life and Fate. He also directed “The Last Letter” (the English version of “La Dernière Lettre”) at the Theater for a New Audience in New York. The French publisher, Gallimard, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, jointly published the book, Frederick Wiseman, which offers a comprehensive overview of his work through a series of original essays by distinguished critics and artists.
Frederick Wiseman received his BA from Williams College in 1951 and his LLB from Yale Law School in 1954. He has received honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College, Princeton University, and Williams College, among others. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has won numerous awards, including four Emmys. He is also the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Society (2013), the George Polk Career Award (2006), the American Society of Cinematographers Distinguished Achievement Award (2006) and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Film Festival (2014). In 2016, he received an Honorary Award from the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was a Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 2018. In 2019, he was the honoree of the Library Lions Award from the New York Public Library and received the Pennebaker Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.