In a career that spans more than four decades, Frederick Wiseman has made nearly forty films that together form a monumental chronicle of late-twentieth-century institutional and cultural life. From his controversial debut, Titicut Follies (1967), about a state prison hospital for the criminally insane, to his recent critical and commercial successes La Danse—The Paris Opera Ballet (2009) and Boxing Gym (2010), these films pose ethical, philosophical, and aesthetic dilemmas that are both urgent and vexing. Frederick Wiseman, the first publication in English to provide a comprehensive overview of Wiseman's work to date (including projects for theater and opera), features original essays by a variety of distinguished writers, critics, and artists: Andrew Delbanco, David Denby, Pierre Legendre, Errol Morris, Marie-Christine de Navacelle, Jay Neugeboren, Geoffrey O'Brien, Christopher Ricks, Catherine Samie, Joshua Siegel, William T. Vollmann, and Wiseman himself. Richly illustrated with stills from his films, this volume is an incisive examination of one of cinema's most fearless and innovative filmmakers.
"What a great salute to a true American original - our great scrutinizer, the filmmaker Fred Wiseman. In celebrating the fierce mastery of his eye and ear, the generous wisdom of his editing, and the enduring grip of his influence, the essays collected here (not least, his own) are full of essential insights into his work, and taken together they pay him the highest homage: they make you want — no, they make you need — to watch his movies again and again."
—Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda