Fredrick Wiseman's Memphis Documentary "Juvenile Court" Screens At Rebranded Crosstown Arthouse Film Series


Crosstown Theater has rebranded their weekly film presentations as the Crosstown Arthouse Film Series. This better reflects the series' content and mission of bringing classic, rarely seen, or overlooked films to Memphis audiences.

Case in point is tonight's film, Juvenile Court. Director Fredrick Wiseman was one of the early practitioners of what was called "Direct Cinema", a kind of American answer to cinéma vérité. Enabled by the development of the kind of handheld camera and audio equipment we in the digital age take for granted, filmmakers of the 1960s were able to capture reality in a way that their predecessors simply could not. Wiseman's films like High School, Basic Training, and Missile were all about capturing everyday life in various contexts. In the early 1970s, he turned his camera on the Memphis justice system for what would become Juvenile Court. Wiseman doesn't editorialize — although he was a pioneer of using editorial techniques to construct a narrative out of seemingly disconnected images and events, which producers of today's reality shows have weaponized. Instead, he simply captures the faces and interactions of normal people in the abnormal circumstances that they are placed in.

Tonight's screening will be introduced by filmmakers Joann Self-Selvidge and Sarah Fleming, who are currently engrossed in creating Juvenile, which traces the experiences of five people from all over the country who have been caught up in the tangle of the American juvenile justice system, and what lessons we can learn from their experience.

Tickets to the show are $5, and can be bought at the door only. Showtime is 7:30 PM at Crosstown Theater. 

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