Still from The Store (1982)
Those of you who have never heard of Frederick Wiseman should take yourselves to the Tate Modern for the ongoing mini Wiseman festival that's taking place there in conjunction with the Jeff Wall show. Wiseman is often dubbed the greatest American documentarian and there seems to be truth in that. I saw his classic The Store (1982) yesterday and I was astounded by the intelligence that Wiseman displayed in the construction of this masterpiece. The Store is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the day-by-day at Neiman Marcus department store in Dallas. Shot on film stock, the camera is never acknowledged and never hand-held as it usually is these days, which creates the impression of this being a fiction film. Wiseman's smooth editing and visual puns manage to create a visual essay on consumerist society that is more beautiful and eerier than anything David Lynch ever made. Yes, life is stranger than fiction, especially in America. Wiseman will be present for a Q&A session on Sunday, 11/12.