The University of California at Berkeley, the oldest and most prestigious member of a ten campus public education system, is also one of the finest research and teaching facilities in the ...
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Renowned documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his observational camera on The Spring, a Florida shelter for battered women and children. For one-hundred and ninety-six minutes, Wiseman ... See full summary »
The University of California at Berkeley, the oldest and most prestigious member of a ten campus public education system, is also one of the finest research and teaching facilities in the world. The film, At Berkeley, shows the major aspects of university life, its intellectual and social mission, its obligation to the state and to larger ideas of higher education, as well as illustrates how decisions are made and implemented by the administration in collaboration with its various constituencies.Written by
It seems only germane to Frederick Wiseman's directorial approach to specific institutions, shady industries, and widely-discussed fields that he'd explore the University of California, Berkeley let alone a massive, renowned college campus. Wiseman's approach to the subjects of his films could almost be called passively observational in the regard that he seems to just turn the camera on, sit back, and listen, resisting all urge - or lack thereof - to throw in his opinion of the main focal point of the film or the people he has chosen to observe (not interview). His filmmaking tactics are on a grandscale, despite the vague titles of his films such as Belfast Maine, Hospital, Welfare, and Zoo just to name a few, and what better way to compliment his style of filmmaking (or even vice-versa) than to capture a year at one of the top colleges in the United States? Frederick Wiseman's At Berkeley is a four hour long documentary that is all-encompassing in its desire to include many aspects of the school, extensive in the way it lingers on certain settings for up to twenty-five minutes at time, well-rounded in its attempt to capture all fields from engineering to liberal arts, and exhaustive in its runtime. The documentary mirrors the qualities of a college course - it's frequently enlightening, provides for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, feels as if it makes you a better person, it can be quiet riveting, it can sometimes be boring, but the impact it leaves on you may potentially never be erased.
Read my full analysis of At Berkeley on my personal blog, http://stevepulaski.blogspot.com
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