Masterful documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his ever watchful and unwavering eye to the inner workings of London’s National Gallery for one of the finest films of his illustrious career.
As is usually with Wiseman’s film, there’s a point to be made and not necessarily a formal plot or any interaction with his subjects. He simply over the course of twelve weeks filmed what made up the essence of daily operations at the National Gallery and distilled his results into three hours.
Maybe it’s because he’s dealing with fine art, but there’s a beauty even to the moments that take place in bureaucratic boardrooms. It feels shorter than many of his longform works and feels even more playful than his most recent effort At Berkeley. He manages to create a film that’s a perfect reflection of the art, and his “go and stay anywhere that I find interesting” style works great when you’re given access to the inner workings of a great art institutions.
Whether it’s filming restorations, marketing meetings designed to talk about an economic crunch, a bizarre protest, or simply following tourists as they make their way through the halls, it’s a keenly perceptive look at the place where art and commerce meet. And you don’t really have to be a huge fan of art or Wiseman to enjoy it. You just have to be patient. (Andrew Parker)
Saturday, September 6th, 12:15pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Sunday, September 7th, 12:15pm, AGO Jackman Hall
Friday, September 12th, 11:30am, AGO Jackman Hall