ACMI to host retrospective of acclaimed documentarist Frederick Wiseman

ACMI to host retrospective of acclaimed documentarist Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman
Words by Staff Writer

Legendary director Frederick Wiseman will be celebrated in a 10-film ACMI retrospective from 22-25 May.

“I’m making movies about common human experiences, which differ from place to place because traditions, customs and habits differ … I attempt to create a dramatic structure drawn from ordinary experience and un-staged, everyday events.” Frederick Wiseman

Wiseman is the legendary and previously highly controversial documentarist behind Titicut Follies (1967), his film debut, shot in 1966 in a Massachusetts prison for the criminally insane and kept out of circulation by court order for nearly a quarter of a century. It’s since become renowned as one of the greatest documentaries of all time, and a pioneering film for the genre.

What you need to know

  • It Takes Time: Ten Films by Frederick Wiseman at ACMI
  • 22 May to 25 September 2022
  • ACMI Cinemas, Fed Square. Members $12, Full $18, Concession $14

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It Takes Time: Ten Films by Frederick Wiseman will screen at ACMI at the end of May, before going on to screen at the Sydney Film Festival and the National Screen & Sound Archive in Canberra for periods from June to October.

Titicut Follies (1967) was the beginning of a career in which Wiseman forged a reputation for his revealing perspective on humanity and human endeavour, changing the way people viewed the art of documentary making. The retrospective will spotlight Wiseman’s multi award-winning career over seven decades, where he has expertly invited audiences into worlds they may have never known or previously cared about to discover what makes communities tick. Ten iconic films draw from a peerless body of work, spanning Wiseman’s work from the ’60s right through to his latest 2020 release, the Melbourne premiere ofCity Hall (2020).

Other Wiseman documentaries to be shown include Welfare (1975), Central Park (1989), High School II (1994), Belfast, Maine (1999), Domestic Violence (2001), La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (2009), In Jackson Heights (2015) and Ex Libris: New York Public Library (2017).

“ACMI is delighted to be partnering once more with the Sydney Film Festival and National Film and Sound Archive to present a season of documentary films by one of the most prolific and essential chroniclers of our age,” ACMI Film Curator Roberta Ciabarra said.

Tickets for the ACMI season are now on sale, book at