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James C. Taylor

Frederick Wiseman; Credit: Courtesy of Zipporah Films

Reality DVD: The Films of Frederick Wiseman

The year 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of High School, Frederick Wiseman’s simple 75-minute documentary about a large public high school in Philadelphia. Hailed at the time as a landmark of the emerging American “direct cinema,” or “cinéma verité,” High School has retained its iconic status: In 1989, it became......
Modern medicine

Checking Back Into Frederick Wiseman's Hospital

One can measure the success of Frederick Wiseman’s landmark documentary Hospital by the two Emmys it won, its inclusion in the Library of Congress, or that Pauline Kael wrote a full review of Wiseman’s film in The New Yorker despite the fact that it was only shown on PBS. The......
My Love (Moya Lyubov); Credit: Magnolia Pictures

2007 Academy Award-Nominated Shorts

With feature films directed by the 2005 and 2006 Oscar winners for Best Live Action Short — Martin McDonough (In Bruges) and Ari Sandel (Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show), respectively — in theaters now, Hollywood execs may pay closer-than-usual attention to shorts this Academy Awards season. If they do,......

the Films That Got Away

I’d like to blame the recall election and the fervor of the Bush vs. Kerry campaign for the fact that two provocative and artfully made political films from 2003 and 2004 have never before screened in Los Angeles. It seems like new documentaries on hot-button issues were opening every week......
A Short Film About Killing

The Essential Kieslowski

That famous softie Stanley Kubrick once gushed that Krzysztof Kies-lowski’s films “have the very real ability to dramatize their ideas .?.?. with such dazzling skill, you don’t realize until much later how profoundly they have reached your heart.” Kubrick was describing The Decalogue (1989), the Polish filmmaker’s 10-part masterpiece, but......