At Berkeley (2013)

Direct cinema pioneer Frederick Wiseman takes an in-depth look at the preeminent American university during a fall semester that saw a vigorous debate taking place over tuition hikes, budget cuts, and the future of higher education in the United States.


I am sure this is an important film for sociological or educational purposes, but for someone that is looking for at least some form of entertainment in their film consummation this just couldn't hold my interest. I forced myself to finish it, but it was really tough, since At Berkeley is four hours long. I felt High School by Wiseman was more interesting to me personally, or at least more watchable. I have seen other films use a similar Cinéma vérité style, that I felt were much more successful, such as Salesman and Grey Gardens by the Maysles. Those tended to focus on a smaller group of persons, which ended up constructing a narrative and endearing those persons to the viewer. This film was far more disjointed because the institution is supposed to be the character, which I had trouble relating to.

Also, looking in on board meetings, while eliminating bias between faculty and students, made me feel like I was at work, which is unpleasant. I do not want to discourage anyone from seeing this film, I am just voicing my own personal reactions. I am sure others might get a lot more out of this than I did.

7 years ago


Maybe the last two hours were riveting,but I neither know nor care.Bloody hell,how can anyone produce such rubbish and expect people to watch it?Filming extremely dull meetings is ,not surprisingly,very dull and it doesn't matter if it is an important topic,dull is dull.

6 years ago

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