High School (Wiseman, 1968)

High School (Frederick Wiseman, 1968)

Up to this point, I’d only seen two Wiseman films, but they were two of the best documentaries I’ve seen. The subjects in both were fascinating and not the kinds of people we see on an everyday basis. With High School, that key strength is lost. I still found it interesting to watch the dynamics of a 1960s high school, especially comparing it to how high school is now (or was back in 2001). But when this was released, that value would not have been present. So….I’m having a little trouble seeing what would have possessed Wiseman to make this one (unless he really had historical significance in mind).

Luckily, the way he makes documentaries is still so great that this is not a bad film. Filming the fragmented pieces of the setting and the people that make up the setting is a unique way to document something. There are no talking heads, no question/answer sections, and no following of one main character or group. The pieces of many lives stirred together in a chaotic yet related way works for me.  7.5/10


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