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244 Ratings

National Gallery

Directed by Frederick Wiseman
United Kingdom, United States, 2014


The documentary is about the National Gallery in London, and is set almost entirely within its confines. The relation between painting and storytelling is explored in the film.

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National Gallery Directed by Frederick Wiseman

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2014 | Directors' Fortnight

Village Voice Film Poll

2014 | Nominee: Best Documentary Feature Film

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2014 | Nominee: Best Documentary

Wiseman’s prowling camera is so unemphatically observational that you can be easily and profitably distracted by a background painting or a patch of gorgeous silk wallpaper or a particularly lovely museumgoer’s face.
January 09, 2015
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It’s hard to be a devout worshiper of an artist like my hero Frederick Wiseman. I have seen nearly 30 of his films, so the rhythms of his edits and the way his scenes are constructed can seem almost second nature, to the point that it becomes difficult to actually experience the films he makes. But then he does something like the last few minutes of his masterful National Gallery and I completely lose my mind. Wiseman has never attempted such a narratively expressive ending before.
January 09, 2015
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Like an early, playful experiment with continuity editing, the cuts stitch together observer and purported observee, and the loop stays open as Wiseman hopscotches back and forth from Italian Renaissance scenes and Hans Holbein’s court paintings, to students with sketchbooks and seniors with audio guides. It’s a democratic array of faces leaning in closer, shifting their weight, smiling knowingly — a potentially inexhaustible recombination of contemplator and contemplated.
January 08, 2015
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