If Errol Morris bids to be poet-philosopher of the American extremities, then Frederick Wiseman is our town-hall archivist, a conscientious, class-wary compiler of documents about the fascination and, often, dreary ordinariness of the American quotidian. Morris has his fashion, but Wiseman's massive 30-year legacy remains the more truthful and valuable work, not the least because it neglects quirk and extravagance, naturally focusing on labor, aging, illness, commerce, personal catastrophe, and, most compelling of all, the tension and righteous lunacy of public institutions. It's a people's cinema, the hardly-secret-but-overlooked history of jobs, neighborhoods, meeting places, and processes. No other cinematic body of work expresses with such detail the inadequacies of capitalist democracy to nurture and... More >>>