The spotlight turns on National Gallery itself

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The spotlight turns on National Gallery itself

It’s the fourth most visited art gallery in the world and now it’s the subject of a new documentary.

The National Gallery is the focus of the latest movie from acclaimed filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. The 85 year-old recorded around 170 hours of footage, and he said he wasn’t sure how it would turn out when he got started.

“The only idea that I had in the beginning was that I hoped there would be a good movie if I hung around the National Gallery for a while. I had no idea what the themes of the point of view of the film were going to be”.

The finished film clocks in at around three hours, but Wiseman believes that the film is only as long as it deserves to be.

“The length of the film should be determined by the subject matter and not by the needs of a television network to squeeze films into 30 or 54 minute segments”, Frederick said.

The documentarian has a reputation for letting his subjects do the talking in his films rather than showing his views on screen, but it’s not an assessment he agrees with.

“My opinion is in the film but it’s represented indirectly from the sequences I choose, the way I edit them and the way I order them. The approach is more novelistic than journalistic”.

National Gallery is released on Friday, January 9.

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