Sag Harbor Cinema will be taking film buffs on a journey through riveting portrayals of ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutionsduring Wednesdays with Wiseman, a tribute to Fredrick Wiseman starting October 21, with three retrospective special programs leading to the release of the legendary director’s latest film, City Hall, on November 6.
“I can think of very few storytellers that can match Fred Wiseman’s piercing eye, his intellect, his depth, his underlying humor and his insatiable curiosity. Calling himself ‘a fantasist’ rather than a documentarian, for over 50 years Wiseman has led us through an exploration of the human experience—social, geographical and emotional—that has no equal in American cinema,” says Sag Harbor Cinema Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan. “I am very excited to share this series with our audience—and even more to bring to SHC Fred’s new film, City Hall, a beautiful work that combines several strands of his past films and that is also incredibly timely.”
Wednesdays with Wiseman will feature a classic Frederick Wiseman film each week that will be introduced by a conversation between Wiseman and fellow documentary filmmakers. The series will begin on October 21 with Academy Award winner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo) doing a pas-de-deux with Wiseman about Ballet (1995). Academy Award winner Errol Morris (The Fog of War) goes through the maneuvers with Wiseman on October 28 with Sinai Field Mission (1978), and Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) pay tribute to health care workers on November 4 with Hospital (1970).
One of the highlights of the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals City Hall—Wiseman’s 45th film—is a fascinating, urgent portrait of democracy at work in Wiseman’s native Boston.Headed by earnest, progressive Mayor Martin Walsh, a diverse, passionate network of public servants works to keep Boston running while grappling with pressing issues like racial justice, affordable housing, climate action and homelessness.
“I made City Hallto illustrate why government is necessary for people to successfully live together,” the director said in a release from Sag Harbor Cinema. “City Hall shows a city government offering a wide variety of important and necessary services to a major American city whose population exemplifies the history of diversity of America. The Boston city government is designed and strives to offer these services in a manner consistent with the Constitution and democratic norms. Boston’s city government is the opposite of what Trump stands for.”
Wednesdays with Wiseman (begins October 21) and City Hall (November 6) will be presented in SHC’s Virtual Cinema, accessible through sagharborcinema.org.