Movie Night with Frederick Wiseman: DUCK SOUP

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Frederick Wiseman, the ground-breaking documentary filmmaker of Titicut Follies, High School, and La Danse will appear in person for a special screening of the Marx Brothers’ classic comedy DUCK SOUP as part of our ongoing guest curator “Movie Night with…” series. A personal favorite of Wiseman’s, DUCK SOUP (1933, dir. Leo McCarey) stars the four Marx Brothers — Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo — in an inimitable, take-no-prisoners, sidesplitting satire of statecraft, warfare and meaning itself. Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly, who’s named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (the all-enduring Margaret Dumont). “I’ve always thought of DUCK SOUP as a documentary,” Wiseman says about his selection.

Wiseman is one of the most acclaimed voices in documentary filmmaking, hailed by critic Philip Lopate as “the greatest American filmmaker of the last 30 years.” For over forty years, he has created an exceptional body of work consisting of thirty-eight full-length films, devoted primarily to exploring contemporary life as it is expressed in institutions common to all societies (schools, hospitals, the military, police, prisons, courts, public housing, theater, ballet, and many other topics). His oeuvre is currently the subject of a yearlong retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Following special presentations at the Cannes, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, his latest film, BOXING GYM, opens Friday, October 22 for an exclusive engagement here at the IFC Center.