Ex Libris – The New York Public Library
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Frederick Wiseman. 2017. 197 mins. Digital projection. Fifty years and 42 documentaries into his legendary career, Frederick Wiseman brings his incisive vision to one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of the New York Public Library. From the storied Fifth Avenue main branch to the Schomburg Center in Harlem to numerous of the 92 branches across Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, Wiseman finds a staff grappling with what a 21st–century library should and could be, guests from Patti Smith to Ta-Nehisi Coates wrestling with ideas and history, and New Yorkers of all races and classes coming together to learn, engage, and access resources, exemplifying the value of community. “In Ex Libris, democracy is alive and in the hands of a forceful advocate and brilliant filmmaker, which helps make this one of the greatest movies of Mr. Wiseman’s extraordinary career and one of his most thrilling.”—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.
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