In Jackson Heights

For his latest film, American documentarian Frederick Wiseman points his camera on one of the most diverse neighborhood in New York: Jackson Heights, Queens. Wiseman is famous for his observational documentaries on the human condition. There is no narrators, no comments and no interviews. Instead, In Jackson Heights has a narrative and a rhythm of his own. What you get is a typical day in the life of the neighborhood. From morning to nighttime, then, the next morning a new day starts, with more places to visit and more people to meet. Wiseman films a series of storefronts or buildings, until he decides to go in to see what’s happening inside. The film starts at the Jackson Heights Jewish center where openly gay 25th district council member Daniel Dromm speaks about Gay Pride and the openness of the whole neighborhood. Then we go to a mosque during prayer. In one store called “Artîculos Católicos”, you can buy statues of the Virgin Mary and other articles of Catholic worship. A protest is organized by a Latino transgender woman, who claims a restaurant waitress refused to serve her. We attend several meetings of Latino businessmen worried that a corporate take over is threatening their stores. Percussionists are giving a concert in a laundromat, a group of female Mariachi play in a park or a trumpet player on the street corner. At over 3 hours, there is too many things to mention here. At times, Frederick Wiseman’s camera lingers a tad too long in the same place. But Jackson Heights seems to be a nice place to live where every one seems to get along. And when racism and Islamophobia rears their ugly heads, the person is soon put in his place. What is sure is that Frederick Wiseman loves the people of Jackson Heights. And indeed, they are lovely.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

In Jackson Heights

Directed by:
Frederick Wiseman

190 min.

Rated Parental Guidance.

In English, Spanish, Arabic, and Hindi and other languages with English subtitles.

 

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