A rollerskater in CENTRAL PARK (1989)
A rollerskater in CENTRAL PARK (1989)
Central Park (1989) Zipporah Films, Inc.

Presented by ACMI in association with Sydney Film Festival and NFSA

Central Park

Frederick Wiseman | U.S.A. | 1989 | Unclassified (15+)

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ACMI Member



Sun 3 Jul 2022

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Frederick Wiseman’s lens focuses on myriad aspects and multiple corners of a 340-hectare idyll in the heart of Manhattan’s hectic metropolis.

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

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 competes 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, Central Park Conservancy and satellite organisations such as the Perimeter Association to balance these.

Celebratory scenes of the 1988 Gay & 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.

Wiseman's roving camera also chances upon Francis Ford Coppola and DOP Vittorio Storaro marshalling technical crew and a large cast of extras during the shoot for Coppola’s ‘Life Without Zoë’ segment of the anthology film New York Stories.

– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film

Format: 16mm
Language: English
Source: Zipporah Films, Inc.
Courtesy: Zipporah Films, Inc.
Runtime: 176 min

Event duration

176 mins


Unclassified (15+)

Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


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ACMI, Fed Square

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It Takes Time: Ten Films by Frederick Wiseman

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