Frederick Wiseman's "National Gallery"

November 19, 2014 10:19 PM

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His signature reticence, characterized by a total lack of narration, becomes the work of art itself. In other films about schools, hospitals, the welfare system, an insane asylum (Titicut Follies), La Comedie-Francaise, and even the Crazy Horse in Paris, Wiseman's almost diaphanous docu-novel style with its omniscient seemingly absent author, lets the content breathe.

The feeling of seeing a Wiseman film is that of being parachuted into a war zone; the absence of plot, of a beginning, middle or end is mitigated by leitmotifs that create a music. But here the subject is looking itself and at times you end up gazing admiringly at the film, more than the collocation...

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