244 minutes, U.S.A., 2013, Colour, D-Cinema

This film closes on September 18th. 

Renowned documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has spent over four decades immersed in exploring the inner workings of American institutions and At Berkeley is his 38th film. Eschewing conventional narrative and interview methods while enjoying unprecedented access to his subject over three months in 2010, Wiseman shot and edited 250 hours of footage into this engrossing four-hour portrait of life on this fabled college campus.

Filmed in Wiseman’s unique style of detached, unobtrusive observation, a vast panoply of characters, including caretakers, campus police, students, lecturers and the college’s senior administrators, play out the countless dramas, conflicts and mundane routines of college life. Wiseman subtly confronts and interrogates the new realities of education and its role in society in an ever-changing and precarious time of budget cuts and creeping decline. At Berkeley is another fascinating realist panorama from a true master of documentary filmmaking. (Notes by Ger Sweeney.)

This film will feature as part of September’s FREE film club meeting, The Critical Take, on Tuesday, 23rd September (18.30). This club is open to all so please join us to chat about this film and more! Simply collect your free ticket at the IFI Box Office.

Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.

★★★★ The Irish Times

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