Flying kites in Rio, breaking hearts in Korea, patching things up in Chinatown, and learning to pray all over the world. An eclectic mix for sure kicks off a (hopefully) periodic series of short reviews for those pressed for time.
It has always been difficult to locate the audience for Frederick Wiseman’s documentaries. They are institutional profiles that capture moments of activity. There isn’t a call to action or requests for engagement. Any emotional connection that the viewer walks away with are his or her own. There is structure and maybe a narrative without much in the way of a climax in his documentaries. In the case of National Gallery, that narrative isn’t immediately apparent. It is a movie for the patient who enjoy learning facts serendipitously.