Libraries are places of…..Community. Scholarship. Exploration. Democracy.
Frederick Wiseman’s brilliant documentary Ex Libris invites you into the New York Public Library, the largest library system in the US. NYPL’s programs serve a vast and incredibly diverse community with of course books, but also everything from after school programs to celebrity lectures, from seminars on sign language to slam poetry performances.
Wiseman received an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016. In more than five decades he has made over 40 films. His subjects have been neighborhoods (In Jackson Heights), universities (At Berkeley), mental hospitals (Titicut Follies), even the Idaho legislature (State Legislature). In Ex Libris Wiseman explores the incredible diversity of the NYPL. The film includes everyday heroes on the library’s staff as well as visits by celebrity authors, artists and thinkers including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, and Richard Dawkins.
“Critic’s Pick. Magnificent…lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate…one of the greatest movies of Mr. Wiseman’s extraordinary career and one of his most thrilling.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“Grade A. All of his films are his best films. Hypnotic and thoroughly essential. EX LIBRIS achieves a certain emotional velocity. It will make you awe at the NY Public Library.” –David Ehrlich, Indiewire