Monday, December 13, 2010

Frederick Wiseman

Basic Training (1971) is Frederick Wiseman's observation of the United States Army nine-week basic training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the summer of 1970. The film is bookended with the pomp and speechmaking of orientation and graduation. The middle of film is structured to build from the learning of discrete skills (top two stills) to elaborate exercises that seem to resemble actual combat, at night and in the field (third still). Wiseman adds humor and commentary by periodically showing groups of soldiers on the march, chanting call-and-response military cadences (bottom).
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.