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USA, 1983 (MIFF 1984)

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman's latest work in an extraordinary succession of fifteen documentaries on the American way of life turns its pitiless glare away from institutional "casualties peace" to concentrate upon affluence and consumer excess.

Its chosen subject is the legendary Neiman-Marcus luxury department store in up-town Dallas, during the Christmas spending orgy. Conspicuous consumption is the key note: like pampered children wealthy Texans pick and choose-ables, diamonds and gourmet items, obsequiously attended by employees who consider it a privilege to be on the Neiman-Marcus staff list.

Juxtaposed with footage of the sales-front arc behind-the-scenes observation of management practices and personnel administration: e.g., the salesladies being conducted in morning callisthenics and smile exercises(l). Wiseman's chosen method is again in evidence: no introductory- "perspective", no voice-over narration or interview; fifty hours of camera and microphone actualities were painstakingly edited down to this final two hour release.

See also...

First Footage

France, 1984
As a result of assiduous research, Levy has uncovered footage from the first films of the masters of documentary: (oris Ivens Olga Alexandrova Vertova, lean Rouch Frederick Wiseman and Nagisa Oshima … More »


USA, 1975
Welfare is the ninth in a series of documentary films about American institutions by Frederick Wiseman. His films since 1967 include studies of the law, the medical profession, schools, the military … More »


USA, 1976
Frederick Wiseman's documentary, Welfare, was screened at last year's Melbourne Film Festival, Meat is his ninth film, a study of one of America's largest meat processing works It is located in Greel… More »


USA, 1995
... ... Veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his rigorous gaze on the cultural institution of classical dance in Ballet, an epic account of days and nights with the premier US nation… More »


USA, 2001
"The world of reality television wouldn't exist without Frederick Wiseman's lingering examinations of fragments of society. And those who've grown up watching such programs should look at this film t… More »

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