sunday 13 april (rescheduled from wednesday 5 february)


(dir Frederick Wiseman, USA, 2013, 244 min)

Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman focuses on UC Berkeley during a period of economic crisis in his epic study of the life of an institution: its rules, principles, and ideas, and their connection to the lives of people who realize it, manage it, and depend on it. At Berkeley is a love poem to the idea of the university and the ways that universities both foster and compromise dissent.

Introduction by Carolyn Anderson, UMass Amherst.

1:00pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management


At Berkeley

“In At Berkeley ... Mr. Wiseman uses the institution’s settings—the meetings, classes and protests—as stages to play out its multifaceted drama of people and ideas.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times. [Official website | Event poster]

Frederick Wiseman bio [view/hide]

Photo: Frederick WisemanFREDERICK WISEMAN is an independent documentary filmmaker. Since 1967 he has directed 40 films, 38 of them documentaries—dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His subjects have included a state hospital for the criminally insane, a high school, a welfare center, juvenile court, a boxing gym, ballet companies in New York and Paris, Central Park, a racetrack, and a Parisian cabaret theater. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis writes: “Taken together, this is work that presents a sweeping, continuing portrait of modern America, its institutions, social relations, administrative and bureaucratic controls and of course—right at the center of this filmmaker’s unyielding frame—its people.”  He has directed two fiction features, Seraphita’s Diary (1982) and The Last Letter (2002) amd also works in the theater. In Paris he directed “The Belle of Amherst,” the play by William Luce about the life of Emily Dickinson, and two plays at La Comédie Française—Samuel Beckett’s “Oh Les Beaux Jours,” and “La Dernière Lettre,” based on a chapter of Vasily Grossman’s novel, Life and Fate. He also directed “The Last Letter” (the English version of “La Dernière Lettre”) at the Theater for a New Audience in New York. The French publisher, Gallimard, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, jointly published the book, Frederick Wiseman, which offers a comprehensive overview of his work through a series of original essays by distinguished critics and artists.

Mr. Wiseman received his BA from Williams College in 1951 and his LLB from Yale Law School in 1954. He has received honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College, Princeton University, and Williams College, among others. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has won numerous awards, including four Emmys. He is also the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Society (2013); the George Polk Career Award (2006); and the American Society of Cinematographers Distinguished Achievement Award (2006), among many others. He is a member of multiple artistic associations, including: Theater for a New Audience; The Artistic Council and Board of Directors, Festival Committee, Human Rights Watch International Film Festival; Honorary Member, Les Amis du Cinéma du Réel Association; and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

VIDEO: At Berkeley trailer [view/hide]
VIDEO: Interview with Frederick Wiseman – NYFF [view/hide]
Carolyn Anderson bio [view/hide]

CAROLYN ANDERSON, Professor Emerita of Communication at UMass, a founding member of the University’s Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, served for many years as a UMass representative on the Five College Film Council.  For 2000-2001 she served as Acting Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies and curated the 2001 MMFF.  She received the College of Social and Behavioral Science Teaching Award for 1994-1995.  With Tom Benson, she co-authored Reality Fictions: The Films of Frederick Wiseman (SIU Press, 1989; revised edition, 2002) and Documentary Dilemmas: Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies (SIU Press, 1991).  Professor Anderson has published dozens of book chapters and articles in scholarly journals and scores of book reviews and encyclopedia entries on topics in cinema studies.    A frequent presenter at academic conferences, she has also lectured in a wide range of venues  in the U.S. and in England, Portugal, Italy and Turkey and routinely serves as a judge for film festivals.   Her current book-in-progress tracks a century of American tourism to Rome, a project that provides a good reason for an annual trip to Italy, where she often stays at the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar.