The Frederick Wiseman documentary, “At Berkeley,” opens at the Royal Theater in West LA. Warning, it runs over four hours! Yours truly suspects the theater opening is a prelude for a public TV showing later. Running as a movie in a theater is probably to qualify for an Academy Award. (That's a guess!) From the Kenneth Turan review in the LA Times:
Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman makes his films his way, and the way he makes them is reflected in how we experience them. "At Berkeley" is Wiseman's 38th doc in 43 years, and each of them, as titles like "Public Housing" and "Boxing Gym" indicate, examines a different institution. "As in all my documentaries," Wiseman writes in "Director's Notes" for his new film, "I had no idea of the themes or structure until I was well advanced in the editing." Similarly, audiences won't fully understand the themes of this long and thoughtful film until they've experienced it for themselves. Wiseman and his two-person crew spent 12 weeks at UC Berkeley in fall 2010. With the university's full cooperation (only tenure decisions were put off-limits), they shot 250 hours of footage, which took 14 months to edit to 4 hours, 4 minutes... What gives "At Berkeley" special interest is that it was filmed at a time when the university was figuring out how to deal with a particularly difficult fiscal situation. California, which at one point in time paid upward of 40% to 50% of the school's expenses, has dropped its share to 16%. Coping with that loss of revenue without loss of academic excellence would be challenge enough without the school's determination to continue to attract as diverse a student body as possible and keep itself affordable not only to low-income students but also to the children of the ever-imperiled middle class as well...
Full review at www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-at-berkeley-20131115,0,7412470.story
Movie trailer below: