• Public Housing

    Public Housing

    ★★★★½

    first Wiseman in a cinema/on film.

    weird to get a portal into a time in America right before we were flooded with independent elevator and electrical businesses

  • The Store

    The Store

    ★★★★½

    "Washington's birthday is a very meaningful event, particularly in Coats"

    a sequel to Model, The Store follows the deconstruction of image making with an astute deconstruction of something much more common for most people: image selling/buying. while The Store might not be showing us anything new, he's showing us what we already now in a clearer light, dissecting how appeal and taste, and therefore much of our consciousness, are constructed by what are no more than product buyers. of course,…

  • Belfast, Maine

    Belfast, Maine

    ★★★★★

    There’s so much in Belfast, Maine about what Stephen Mamber has taxonomized as Process — seeing something made from beginning to end. We get incredible assembly line scenes of boxed baked potatoes, canned sardines (a sequence i believe Wiseman said contains 276 edits), packaged salmon and donuts, as well as the process of fishing, making fox furs and baking chocolates.

    We see a town that, while quite embedded within industrialization and the alienation of doing its labor, still cherishes the…

  • Zoo

    Zoo

    ★★★★½

    There’s so much to say about this movie. And, for the umpteenth time, halfway through a Wiseman movie, I wondered if this was “lesser Wiseman” before having my brain melted in the second hour.

    It’s interesting that Zoo was released the same year as Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. both are movies about humans’ relationship with animals, particularly the power dynamic at play and what can and can’t withstand that hegemony. Both are also inherently about the capitalist venture at play in…

  • National Gallery

    National Gallery

    ★★★★½

    my first viewing of National Gallery was early on in my Wiseman watches and, like Mamber notes in his diary, I too originally got caught up in trying to view it as how this one institution is struggling to maintain its perception, how it markets itself, how it sees itself, etc. -- the type of stuff Wiseman is usually interested in -- but this time around, the film transcends any specific institutional diagnoses to be a complex meditation on art…

  • Benediction

    Benediction

    ★★★★½

    The Long Gay Line

  • Central Park

    Central Park

    ★★★★

    Wiseman sorta bookends Central Park with two traditional forms of performance, with the practice of Shakespeare and the making of a film, to bracket the many ways humans perform in public. here we get performance of sports, religion, music, heritage, allyship, sexual identity, political identity, political duty and surely more I'm forgetting.

    the Reading Rainbow section, which shows us what looks like an organic public performance of one kind interrupted by a director yelling cut, is terrific. as is the…

  • High School II

    High School II

    ★★★★½

    a nearly four-hour film that gives ample space to students discussing issues important them amongst each other, teachers discussing pedagogy amongst themselves and watching students and teachers interact together -- nearly the opposite of Wiseman's first High School film, though both exist at crucial flash-points in America's recent racial history.

    the film this immediately reminded me more of was Ex Libris, as in both we see sincere civic and civil discussions about learning and general appropriate citizenry. plenty else exists…

  • Seraphita's Diary

    Seraphita's Diary

    ★★★

    a playful neon one-woman abstract film starring Apollonnia, one of the models "Apples" from Model, that plays with many of the ideas of performance in Wiseman's previous film and also offers some complimentary interiority of the model that is not a part of Model. overall, more interesting to think about than to watch.

  • Model

    Model

    ★★★★½

    a film about the many ways we use images to create meaning, which Wiseman surveys and contrasts via the agency's ads, the documentary crew's project and Wiseman's own project set at a critical distance.

    the way Wiseman punctuates the whole thing -- ideas about real life, projecting real life for consumption and making art out of images of 'the real' -- with a scene of models talking to Andy Warhol about their real weekend life vs. how they play real…

  • Procession

    Procession

    ★★★★

    in a piece on Wiseman's The Store, Greene wrote, "we are phony and real and playing at being phony/real," a sentiment expressed throughout Greene's earlier work, but the way Procession evolves his approach here to play with that statement, both about the subjects' lives and his filmmaking, to meaningfully express how central performance is to these men's experiences is really special

  • Ascension

    Ascension

    ★★★★

    an impressive feature that brings to mind Reggio's tone-poem style, Jia's The World and 24 City and Wiseman's ideas of institutionalized discipline and surveillance, particularly High School, Basic Training and Meat, as well as his knack for absurdism and humor.

    a ton of fantastic images, and the standout sequence is definitely the sex doll manufacturing, which is not only great spectacle but rich with the kind of doubled meaning that recalls that famous last sentiment from Wiseman's High School, "only a body doing a job."