In Jackson Heights

In Jackson Heights ★★★★★

Frederick Wiseman does not make conventional documentaries. There are no talking heads, voiceover narration, or onscreen text. Instead, Wiseman immerses you in a particular culture, region, or institution. For this documentary he has chosen Jackson Heights, America’s most diverse city, as his subject. This is Wiseman at his most Fordian – looking at how a group of immigrants from disparate cultures create a community and how this community functions. It posits Jackson Heights as a place where America’s ideals about the creation of community and the empowerment of disenfranchised groups through activism and government are put into action via seemingly mundane and ordinary actions like LGBT rights advocacy gatherings, school redistricting meetings, and community outreach programs. However, Wiseman also posits this as a community on the verge of extinction as the Manhattan real estate market’s ever-expanding reach threatens to inevitably displace the businesses and residents of this highly functional community.

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