USA / 2001 / English / Color / 16mm / 195 min
Director, Editing, Sound, Producer: Frederick Wiseman
Photography: John Davey
Production Company: Domestic Violence Film, Inc.
Source: Zipporah Films, Inc.
One Richdale Avenue, Unit #4, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA
Phone: 1-617-576-3603 Fax: 1-617-864-8006
As unearthly as it may sound, domestic violence is most likely the most common form of violence in modern society. For his 31st film about American daily life, Wiseman chose this issue. In Tampa, Florida, Wiseman depicts these bloody aspects of this seemingly idyllic sunny community’s daily lives. Then the film moves to this community’s shelter for abuse victims—the biggest of its kind in Florida—where the clients face their traumatic memories, then gradually the complex causalities and psychologies behind the abusive family conducts are revealed; why family members hurt each other, and how one allows to be hurt. It is more than once that the film surprises us, subverts our stereotypical understanding of the matter, and face us with each of these living truths; how similar they are and yet with a diversity of distinctive characteristics and problems for each. We learn how the victimized are healed, but also how difficult the process is, and certainly not without failures. Once again, Wiseman provides us a shocking, complex portrait of our seemingly banal daily lives.
[Directors Statement] I am interested in documenting ordinary experience. Since domestic violence is a common aspect of human behavior, I thought it was an appropriate subject for a film.
Born in Boston in 1930. Made his directorial debut in 1967 during the height of direct cinema with Titicut Follies, a film about a facility for the criminally insane. Has made about one film per year throughout his 30 years of filmmaking career. His films, including High School (1968), Law and Order (1969), Hospital (1969), Manoeuvre (1979), Missile (1987), Near Death (1989), High School II (1994), and Ballet (1995), explore the daily routine of American institutions. Model (1980) was shown as a special invitation film at YIDFF ’91, and Zoo (1993) was awarded the Mayor’s Prize at YIDFF ’93. In 1997 Wiseman visited Yamagata again and received the Special Prize for La Comédie Française ou l’amour joué (1996), and Belfast, Maine (1999) was awarded the Mayor’s Prize at YIDFF ’99.