2017 | 197 minutes | Rated NR
Ex Libris: New York Public Library is exactly what the title states, a sprawling, 3-plus hour venture through the various branches, nooks, and crannies of a venerable institution. Once you get into the film’s unforced rhythms, the time starts to fly by. The small details form a fascinating gestalt. Filmed over a span of weeks, Wiseman’s 43rd feature captures, well, seemingly everything about its subject, ranging from deadpan hysterical help desk conversations, the constant struggle in adapting to changing technologies, and just the wide-ranging hustle and bustle of daily events. As Ex Libris progresses, a clear, guiding intelligence makes itself known, ranging from the no-big-deal dignity afforded everyone on screen, some gorgeously mundane glimpses of everyday routines, and the way that the topics of slavery and freedom keep surfacing in conversations.
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