Review: We the (library card carrying people) of ‘Ex Libris’

By Manohla Dargis, New York Times, September 12 2017

“In his magnificent new documentary “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,” Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into those same halls as well as into more humble city branches. He sweeps into atriums and down corridors, pauses in reading and meeting rooms, and lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate.

Mr. Wiseman never states outright what the library’s mission is; he doesn’t have to. It’s as clear as the recitations from the Declaration of Independence in one scene and in a passionate discussion of a racist textbook’s misrepresentation of the American slave trade in another. It is a soaring, Utopian mission in a documentary that builds with intellectual force and deep emotion as it shows, again and again, citizens — interested, questioning, seeking — joining together to listen to one another and to learn from one another. In “Ex Libris,” democracy is alive and in the hands of a forceful advocate and brilliant filmmaker, which helps make this one of the greatest movies of Mr. Wiseman’s extraordinary career and one of his most thrilling.”

Read the full review from the New York Times here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/movies/ex-libris-new-york-public-library-review.html