In Jackson Heights

Frederick Wiseman
USA 2015 | 190 Min. | OmeU

What char­ac­ter­izes public life? What­ev­er it is, it could hardly be more lively than in Jack­son Heights, where 167 dif­fer­ent lan­guages are spoken. There are shops, restau­rants, and places of wor­ship from all pos­si­ble cul­tures, street musi­cians, a large LGBTQ parade, and always some­thing going on some­where. The master of Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary film focus­es on the ‘insti­tu­tion’ of public life in this movie. He films in the streets and in inte­ri­or loca­tions. He cap­tures groups of people dis­cussing their con­cerns, or simply saying a few words at an event. There are old people in retire­ment homes that don’t get enough atten­tion, and a knit­ting circle of ladies who worry about the preser­va­tion of grave­yards. A trans­gen­der woman com­plains about dis­crim­i­na­tion in a restau­rant. A gay sup­port group wants to con­tin­ue meet­ing in a Jewish Center. Immi­grants need social assis­tance. Wise­man also films sev­er­al dis­cus­sions about the BID (Busi­ness Improve­ment Dis­trict), which wants to slowly but surely get rid of small busi­ness­es in the area. Will this New York neigh­bor­hood be able to stand its ground against gen­tri­fi­ca­tion?
This film is built entire­ly around the simple pres­ence of the camera; there is no need for any­thing dec­o­ra­tive to cap­ture the cul­tur­al wealth of public life in this area. Some­times, the police or fire fight­ers rush by with their sirens blar­ing.

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Fred­er­ick Wise­man geb. 1930 in Boston, USA. Er studierte Jura und war als Recht­san­walt in Paris tätig. 1959 wurde er Pro­fes­sor für Recht und Medi­zin an der Boston Uni­ver­si­ty. Seit 1967 machte er Filme und gilt neben D.A. Pen­nebak­er, Robert Drew und Richard Lea­cock als wichtiger Pio­nier des Direct Cinema. Sein leg­endär­er erster Film TITICUT FOLLIES fiel unter die Zensur und wurde erst 1991 für das Pub­likum freigegeben. Sein Marken­ze­ichen sind aus­führliche Stu­di­en von Insti­tu­tio­nen unter­schiedlich­ster Art. Wise­man erhielt zahlre­iche Ausze­ich­nun­gen u.a. Award of Dis­tinc­tion der Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Cin­e­matog­ra­phers (2006), Gold­en­er Löwe für das Lebenswerk, Venedig 2014, Ehrenoscar 2016. Filme u.a.: TITICUT FOLLIES (1967), LAW AND ORDER (1969), BASIC TRAINING (1971), JUVENILE COURT (1973), PRIMATE (1974), WELFARE (1975), ZOO (1993), HIGH SCHOOL II (1994), STATE LEGISLTURE (2006), LA DANSE (2009), BOXING GYM (2010), NATIONAL GALLERY (2014).