Without much of a plan, 87-year-old Frederick Wiseman entered the main building of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, Manhattan. He stayed there for 12 weeks, capturing every little detail he came upon. The result is a fascinating insight into an institution to which we all can relate in some way. But don’t think for a second – even though the library holds an incredible 53 million titles in its possession – that this is a film about books. It is a film about people: From librarians and academics to students and homeless people simply looking for shelter: EX LIBRIS gives us their story. Celebrity authors like Elvis Costello, Patti Smith and Richard Dawkins also appear on camera.
Frederick Wiseman has been making films for five decades and for every film, he seems to settle his position as one of our most influential filmmakers. In EX LIBRIS he is as sharp as ever, applying the same observational style that has earned him his reputation.