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central park - frederick wiseman - documentary - MOMI - Untapped Cities - NYC -001A still from Frederick Wiseman’s CENTRAL PARK (1989), screening at Museum of the Moving Image as part of the series “Frederick Wiseman’s New York.” Photo courtesy of Zipporah Films.

Take a retrospective look at New York City this month through the lens of the legendary documentary maker Frederick Wiseman. From October 9th through November 7th, the Museum of the Moving Image will be hosting Frederick Wiseman’s New York, which will include seven feature-length screenings of Wiseman’s New York-based films. The films, all shot in 16mm between 1970 to 1995, take an in-depth look at New York by focusing on different institutions and ways of life that reflect the city: Ballet, Central Park, High School II, Hospital, Model, Racetrack and Welfare. According to Chief Curator David Schwartz, “if there are eight million stories in New York, Wiseman has captured many of them, showing the human side of the complex institutions that make up the fabric of the city.”

Model-Frederick Wiseman-MOMI- Untapped Cities- NYC-001A still from Frederick Wiseman’s MODEL (1980). Image courtesy of Zipporah Films.

The movies expose for the viewer a raw view of what makes up New York. For instance, in Model, Wiseman takes a Warholian look at the modeling industry, revealing the expense, aspiration, and fuss that goes into selling couture collections and expensive cars. Wiseman’s Hospital, on the other hand, examines the world of poor African Americans and immigrants as seen in the emergency ward and outpatient clinics at New York’s Metropolitan Hospital.

Hospital-Frederick Wiseman-MOMI-Untapped Cities-NYC -001A still from Frederick Wiseman’s HOSPITAL (1970). Image courtesy of Zipporah Films.

Wiseman has created more than 40 documentaries since 1967. Some of his films ask big questions about the world and existence while others delve into social and ethical issues. According to his website, Zipporah Films, Wiseman claims that documentaries are akin to forms of fiction and that like a complex body of great fiction, sometimes his work leaves you with no answers.

Frederick Wiseman. Photo: John Ewing.Director Frederick Wiseman. Photo by John Ewing. 

In addition to the screenings, on October 28th, Wiseman will be hosting a discussion about the nine films he has made in New York City and will screen exclusive scenes from his latest film, In Jackson Heights. For a full schedule of events, click here. Tickets can be purchased the day of with museum admission.

 Next, check out more upcoming NYC events this week.

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