Earlier this week, I sketched a story from here about the national treasures moving up and down the Croisette. Martin Scorsese. Woody Allen. Roger Ebert. Not to mention all the local (French) auteurs. But few treasures got around Cannes this week as much as Frederick Wiseman, America's -- and Cambridge's! -- greatest documentary filmmaker. There he was at a crowded screening of Olivier Assayas's 333-minute Carlos the Jackal epic. There he was again gamboling along a hot hotel terrace as Mick Jagger was giving a jocular interview to an international handful of reporters. One night he was seated next to the French filmmaker Agnès Varda (more treasure). On another, he was seated, quite magically, next to me.
At 80, Wiseman is able to move around town with an anonymity that Varda or Allen or Ebert no longer have. Could this also be true when he runs errands around Porter Square where he lives? But the people who do recognize him or discover who is appear to be tastefully star-struck. His latest film, "Boxing Gym," had an ecstatically received premiere in the festival's Directors Fortnight on Thursday. (I recorded the video above a few minutes before the screening. It's sub-sub Wiseman in quality.)
Wiseman spent several weeks in Austin, Texas filming the members of "Lord's Gym," as they trained, sparred, worked out, and shot the breeze. He bestows upon this busy, gloriously overdecorated facility his usual contemplative eye, but, at a 91 minutes, in less time than usual. (At dinner the other night, a friend of Wiseman's said, "This is short for you, Fred." He responded by saying that it was as long as it needed to be.)
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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