PBS Plus Presentation, NPS Standalone
Iconic filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his novelistic eye to rural Midwesterners to fill in a missing piece in his vision of American life.
Frederick Wiseman's 40th documentary is about the racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York.
Frederick Wiseman has made 39 documentaries and two fiction films. Among his documentaries are Titicut Follies, Welfare, Public Housing, Near Death, La Comédie Française Ou L'amour Joué, La Danse — le Ballet De L'opéra De Paris, and At Berkeley (Independent Lens, 2014). His documentaries are dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray the joy,… Show more sadness, comedy and tragedy of ordinary experience. His films have played in theatres and been broadcast on television in many countries. He is also a theater director and has directed The Last Letter, based on a chapter of Vasily Grossman's novel Life and Fate, and Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Comédie Française. Mr. Wiseman received his BA from Williams College in 1951 and his LLB from Yale Law School in 1954. He has received honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College, Princeton University, and Williams College, among others. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has won numerous awards, including four Emmys and the Dan David Prize. He is also the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Society (2013); the George Polk Career Award (2006); the American Society of Cinematographers Distinguished Achievement Award (2006); and the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion (2014); among many others. Show less
Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the United States and the world. There are immigrants from every country in South America, from Mexico, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and China. Some are citizens, some have green cards, some are without documents. The people who live in Jackson Heights, in their cultural, racial and ethnic diversity, are representative of the new wave of immigrants to America. 167 languages are spoken there.
Some of the issues In Jackson Heights raises—assimilation, integration, immigration and cultural and religious differences—are common to all the major cities of the Western world. The subject of the film is the daily life of the people in this community—their businesses, community centers, religions, and political, cultural and social lives—and the conflict between maintaining ties to traditions of the countries of origin and the need to learn and adapt to American ways and values.
This is Frederick Wiseman’s third film about communities, the others being Aspen and Belfast, Maine. In these films, as in all his films, he is trying to present a broad and complex portrait of contemporary life.