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High School (1968)

Not Rated | | Documentary | May 1968 (USA)
Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students.

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Storyline

Producer and director Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into a high school in 1968 and records events as they occur. Told without narration, the film essentially listens in on students, teachers and parents as they deal with issues of everyday life. Students are clearly meant to do as they are told without question - many of the teachers are autocratic in this respect - and the developing clash of cultures is evident in almost every scene. The role these young women are expected to play after high school is particularly archaic by today's standards. Written by garykmcd

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Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Release Date:

May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Student Affairs  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991. See more »

Quotes

Male Authority Figure: It's nice to be individualistic, but there are certain places to be individualistic.
Female Student: I didn't mean to be individualistic.
Male Authority Figure: No, I'm not criticizing!
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Connections

Referenced in Rushmore (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Dangling Conversation
(uncredited)
Written by Paul Simon
Performed by Simon & Garfunkel
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User Reviews

 
This Film Did NOT Truly Capture NE High.
29 May 2008 | by (La Porte, Indiana) – See all my reviews

Well, I attended Northeast while Wiseman and crew were filming the movie. Twenty years later, I finally located a copy in the Indiana University libraries and watched it.

I can tell you that he did NOT capture the essence of our high school, due mostly to the disruption caused by the camera crew. I received a better education than anyone else I met in college. Since I double-majored in Electrical Engineering and Humanities at Notre Dame, I was grateful for the college-prep curriculum I had received at NE. My high school Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, History, English and Latin classes left me well-prepared for college.

Like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Physics, where observing a subatomic particle changes its nature, the presence of the camera crew changes what happens in each venue. For example, there's a scene where an English teacher (Mrs. London) plays records all period because the camera's presence prevented students from paying attention to the scheduled lesson. Wiseman made it seem like "Here's what kids are learning all day long."

Coincidentally, I lived in Panama for three years. Wiseman's 1977 movie "Canal Zone", about the Panama Canal, presented a similarly incorrect view. Cinema Verite - - at least Frederick Wiseman's version - - is not worth the publicity it receives.


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