Hugely influential documentarian Frederick Wiseman visits the UC Berkeley campus for one of his insightful “fly on the wall” docs, and discovers a few things: Most of the university officials behave nervously on camera; the teachers and researchers generally do not; and the students, as usual, are the boldest and most inspired people on the scene. The film underscores the ongoing debate about the nature and role of public education as exemplified by the UC system. In sequences from administrators’ table talk about the “corporatization” of knowledge to student protests against tuition increases, we watch that debate ebb and flow in producer-director-editor Wiseman’s steady, rhythmic montage. And we can feel our IQ rising in the four hours we spend exploring the kaleidoscope of thought that exists at a major place of learning. How many commercially shown movies can do that for us? (244 min).
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Producer: Frederick Wiseman