High School II

MA 15+
24 July
Location informationArc Cinema
Event cost$12 / $10 (season pass: $100 / $80)

Twenty-five years after he focused his gaze on a lower-middle class school in Philadelphia, Wiseman went uptown, in 1992, to Central Park East Secondary School in Spanish Harlem, New York. 

Here, learning is not by rote and students are actively engaged in the educational process. Scenes of informal discussions between students and teachers, staff meetings and family conferences reveal how this progressive institution’s alternative approach eschews authoritarian teaching.

Instead, students are encouraged to deepen their thinking and to talk openly. Conflict resolution is on the roster, as are techniques for putting on condoms; King Lear draws comparison with a crime family; Immigration Law provokes raucous debate.  

‘Each episode of High School II creates a tiny drama of its own, until the film assumes the breadth of a mini-series and the fascination of a trenchant novel of manners’ – Caryn James, The New York Times 

Presented in partnership with the Sydney Film Festival and ACMI.

See more films in our season It Takes Time: 10 Films by Frederick Wiseman.



Bookings are essential for all ticketed events. Learn about measures we have in place to keep you COVID-safe here. See the ACT Government COVID-19 website for more information.


Be rewarded for every paid screening, event or exhibition at the NFSA every time you visit. Your seventh visit is free. More details on Club NFSA at our Ticketing page.