February 21, 2018 · Regal Riviera · 7:00 p.m.
In Ex Libris, the 42nd documentary by Frederick Wiseman (recipient of an Honorary Oscar in 2016), the legendary filmmaker brings his incisive vision behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of NYC’s library system. The NYPL is blessed with uniformly passionate staff and deeply devoted, appreciative bibliophiles and beneficiaries across its 92 branches. The film reveals a venerable place of welcome, cultural exchange, and intellectual creativity.
“Ex Libris reaffirms Wiseman as an essential American artist of our time, and, in an era of crumbling institutions and cratering civic awareness, an exemplary observer and thinker.” — Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment
“A film about the importance of cultural history and truth (two things deeply under siege these days), Wiseman’s epic Ex Libris might make you cry with happiness; it’s the good fight being fought. Movies aren’t usually a public benefit, much less an essential one. Here’s the exception.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
About the Filmmaker
Frederick Wiseman is an independent documentary filmmaker. Since 1967 he has directed 42 films, 39 of them documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His subjects have included a state hospital for the criminally insane, a high school, a welfare center, juvenile court, a boxing gym, ballet companies in New York and Paris, Central Park, a racetrack, and a Parisian cabaret theater. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis writes: “Taken together, this is work that presents a sweeping, continuing portrait of modern America, its institutions, social relations, administrative and bureaucratic controls and of course — right at the center of this filmmaker’s unyielding frame — its people.”