DAVID BIANCULLI

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CITY HALL
December 22, 2020  | By David Bianculli

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

 
DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE: Frederick Wiseman is 90 years old now, and still making documentary films. His latest, premiering tonight on PBS, is City Hall, which spends more than four hours of screen time, culled from much more raw footage than that, showing how the city of Boston does the business of running its municipality. Wiseman’s unusual filmmaking approach has been the same since his famous first work, 1967’s Titicut Follies, which looked in depth at another Massachusetts institution (literally, the Massachusetts mental institution known as Bridgewater). Wiseman takes his cameras, and crew, and shows up somewhere and just films. So much that his resultant works are very long, very detailed, and very impressive, because they end up capturing real life, in real time. Some of them make Ken Burns look like a sprinter. City Hall, for Wiseman, is a relatively short documentary. Maybe, as a nonagenarian, he’s preserving his energy for future projects… Check local listings.
 
 
 
 
 
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