Who is he?
American theater and documentary film director, writer, producer, editor who has made over 40 feature films since the mid-sixties. Wiseman studied and taught law professionally before taking to filmmaking. He is one of the foremost figures in American documentary film history and is among the most respected documentarians across the world.
Why is he of interest?
Wiseman’s films are celebrated for their non-intrusive and observational style. However, for the very same reason, they also raise the question of the ethics of filmmaking and the possibility of achieving true objectivity in cinema. Would the people in these films have behaved the same way without the presence of the camera? Is it right for a filmmaker to make public the private tribulations of an individual? Wiseman’s films offer endlessly rich answers to these questions.
Where to discover him?
Titicut Follies (1967), Wiseman’s first and most famous work, ruffled quite a few feathers upon public screening. Focusing on the resilient inmates of a correctional facility in Massachusetts for the criminally insane and their interactions with the policemen and psychiatrists in charge, Titicut Follies brings to surface the mistreatment of the patients by the institution. Not surprisingly, the film was banned from public screening for 25 years.