Frederick Wiseman shot 150 hours of footage and crafted a 197 minute film in approximately one year of editing. The movie ended up taking place during seven days, which fits the number of days the New York Public Library opens its doors during a regular week, with the last day, Sunday, being the one in which the Library facilities are opened for less hours. "Sunday" is also the day with the least minutes in the structure of the film: 19 minutes, compared to the approximate 30 minutes per day for the previous six days of the week. See more »
A fine idea that went on too long
New York's various library branches are visited in all boroughs in this documentary. It includes various segments highlighting free lectures, job fairs, community gatherings, school classes, help to the needy, and library business meetings.
The variety of the segments and their subjects are as well chosen as are the variety of people in each of them. For those of us who love New York and New Yorkers, the people alone make much of this film an enjoyable experience.
Many of the lectures were fascinating but some seemed intended for the few with either a higher level of academic intellect and/or a great knowledge of the subject at hand. While this might have been something to overlook, it is harder to overlook the movie's biggest liability: its length of three-and-a-quarter hours. The movie could have been reduced by at least one-third.
Though most of the segments were a reasonable length of time, this was not the case for the library staff meetings that were too frequent and too long - much like staff meetings for those of us in our real lives. While some moments in these scenes were interesting, they had a tendency to remind us of the occasional auditory, mental torture of our own lives - something we'd rather forget when watching a movie. - dbamateurcritic
10 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this