The sprawling sanctuary occupying the middle of Manhattan is unique in the world for its scale and the range of recreational activities it offers the city’s residents and visitors.
Wiseman’s wonderfully engaging film captures New Yorkers – and others – enjoying the Park’s enviable habitat: sun-bathers, dog-walkers, joggers, parents with strollers, children at play, birdwatchers, a seniors’ group doing tai chi by the Jackie O Reservoir, roller-skaters, chess players and many others.
Beyond such scenes of uplift, Wiseman also considers the tensions that arise when a particular group's needs are contested or compete with others – cue scenes of irate vendors at a peace rally featuring Midnight Oil performing a charged 'Beds are Burning' – and the ongoing work of the Department of Parks Management to balance these.
Celebratory scenes of the 1988 Gay and Lesbian Pride March and moving images of visitors to the AIDS Memorial Quilt project on display in the park have particular resonance given the context of the first wave of the deadly AIDS pandemic that transformed the city during this time.
'One of the most accessible and salutary films ever made by master documentarian Frederick Wiseman... one of the great filmmakers of our time' – Tom Shales, The Washington Post
Presented in partnership with the Sydney Film Festival and ACMI.
See more films in our season It Takes Time: 10 Films by Frederick Wiseman.
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