Architecture on Film: City Hall (UK Theatrical Premiere)

The latest film by Frederick Wiseman – one of cinema’s greatest documentarians – reveals the labour involved in making and maintaining a city for its citizens.


01:00pm, Saturday, 10 July 2021


05:35pm, Saturday, 10 July 2021


Cinema 1
Barbican Centre, Level -2
Silk St, London, EC2Y 8DS



AF Members:
£9.60 (Please contact AF for promotional discount code)


Young Barbican:

Tel (9am-8pm):
+44 (0)20 7638 8891

This is a past event

City Hall (UK Theatrical Premiere)

By turning a lens upon the workings of Boston’s city government and mayor, Wiseman’s panoramic opus bears deep, insightful and nuanced witness to the complexities, textures and efforts of urban governance and democracy in action.

Wiseman’s astute form of cinematic minute taking carries a political and poetic force, demonstrating the strength and fragility of civic life.

What is the opposite of social distance? It might be Frederick Wiseman, whose documentaries are epics of social proximity, serenely and thrillingly observant chronicles of how people behave in shared spaces. Wiseman’s latest […] turns bureaucratic procedure into a kind of poetry.
A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Shot between 2018-19, during the Trump administration, the film highlights Boston’s fights for social justice, racial equity, and positive structural change, “Because”, in Mayor Walsh’s words, “a more equal conversation means a more resilient city.” Over the course of an afternoon with Wiseman’s film, a city’s potential to be an engine of social progress – within and beyond its geographical limits – is made clear, through an urban portrait exploring how people can help people to live together.

Having previously offered rare UK screenings of Wiseman’s films Public Housing and In Jackson Heights, as part of Architecture on Film, we are delighted and honored to host the UK theatrical premiere of the director’s latest landmark work – his 45th feature to date.

Nobody talks seriously about writing the Great American Novel anymore, but Wiseman belongs to a generation that used to, and his body of work [...] represents the nearest contemporary equivalent I can think of. Especially when viewed in Wiseman’s terms — as a single, ongoing project — the scope and ambition become panoramic, a national monument. […] Wouldn’t it be funny if the Great American Novel actually does exist, only it’s not a novel and has been quietly appearing in serialized form on public television for the past 50 years?
Mark Binelli, The New York Times

(USA, 2020, Frederick Wiseman, 275 min)