Among the greatest and most influential documentary filmmakers who ever lived, Frederick Wiseman is more than just a capturer of reality on screen: he’s a conjurer of unforgettable images and a true artist, chronicling the last half century of American life. Still going strong at age 85 (his latest film, In Jackson Heights, was one of the very best of 2015), Wiseman began his career in the late sixties, and his particular artistic voice was present from the start, with his excoriating take on a Massachusetts mental care facility, Titicut Follies. Soon after, Wiseman made two more films about American institutions, High School and Hospital, both of them brilliantly zeroing in on the unpredictable human interactions and everyday challenges it takes to make such structures function—if they do at all. We are thrilled to present new 35mm prints of these amazing three films, which mark the brilliant beginnings of one of cinema’s greatest living artists, who this year celebrates his fiftieth year working in film.
The films were preserved by the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center from original camera negatives in the Zipporah Films Collection. Photos courtesy Zipporah Films.