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Five Films by Frederick Wiseman: Titicut Follies, High School, Welfare, High School II, Public Housing [Paperback]

Frederick Wiseman

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Book Description

10 Mar 2006
Frederick Wiseman is among America's foremost documentary filmmakers. The recipient of many awards, including three Emmys, Wiseman has made more than thirty feature-length documentaries during a career that has spanned five decades. Together, these films provide a fascinating chronicle of American social and institutional life. This book makes available for the first time transcriptions of five of Wiseman's most important films-- Titicut Follies, High School, Welfare, High School II, Public Housing--providing all of the dialogue as well as annotations about other aspects of the soundtracks such as music and ambient noise, and notes about editing and camera movement. These scene-by-scene transcripts enable readers to scrutinize the films' complex structural patterns, recurring motifs, editing regimes, and the unscripted dialogue that makes Wiseman's cinema a rich repository of American speech. Editor Barry Keith Grant's critical introduction discusses the importance of sound in Wiseman's documentaries. Liberally illustrated with images from the films, these meticulous transcriptions are accompanied by a bibliography and filmography.

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"Fred Wiseman is the perfect example of someone who has created a great canon of films. He is not just a great documentary filmmaker, he is a great filmmaker and artist. He has created some of the wildest, most personal, and oddly expressionistic filmmaking around. His origins are not in the movies but in the theater of the absurd. I imagine his smile of pleasure when the man in Welfare compares his situation to Godot. It's not life imitating art, but a strange admixture of both where the boundary lines between the two are no longer visible. Ultimately, Wiseman has showed us that the ultimate institution is life itself, and properly speaking, we should all be institutionalized." - Errol Morris "Barry Grant has created a monumental resource for the study of a monumental filmmaker." - Ross McElwee, Director, Sherman's March and Bright Leaves"

About the Author

Barry Keith Grant is Professor of Film Studies and Popular Culture at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman (1992), and the editor of Fritz Lang Interviews (2003), Film Genre Reader 3 (2003), John Ford's Stagecoach (2002), and The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film (1996), among other books.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Value of Truth in Documentary Film 24 Jan 2013
By Savvy Reader - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Reviewing Wiseman's works in "The Five Films" harks back in my mind to the techniques of the famous documentary filmmaker Vittorio DeSeta,a close friend and colleague of famed American director Martin Scorsese, whose works Scorcese brought to the United States for the first time, along with Maestro DeSeta himself, in 2005, at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. I was among those fortunate enough to see DeSeta's brilliant brief documentaries. Would that they had also known then, how Wiseman picks up many of DeSeta's wonderful techniques in putting his stories, like "Welfare" onto the screen. To quote Scorsese: "The sound of the voice, the drama begins..without the excitement, you have no story."
Wannabe documentary film writers should read this book like the Bible for documentaries.
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