Frederick Wiseman Jane Larkin Crain - Essay

Jane Larkin Crain

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] first thing to be remarked of [Wiseman's] movies is that they possess, for the most part, a style and verve that put Dragnet and Emergency! to shame. Where they do not, where the air of pointlessness and tedium we normally associate with institutional life takes over, it is in the case of institutions whose very reason to exist is saturated with ambiguity.

The most extreme instance of this sort of tedium arises in Essene, Wiseman's study of monastic life, in which a great deal of the monks' time seems given over to trying to figure out just what the meaning and justification of monastic life are in the first place. The insecurity and confusion of the monks in Essene...

(The entire section is 646 words.)