A Day at the Races with Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman (1930-) is one of the giants of modern documentary film. His interest in humans and their institutions has taken him many places over the course of his long career -- including the legendary equestrian venue Belmont Park, the focus of Wiseman's 1984 film Racetrack. It is, like much of his work, a closely observed portrait of a place. And the 114-minute film raises all kinds of tough questions, including some on the filmmaking process itself. Wiseman's work is notably hard to find using the usual viewing channels; all the more reason, if you're in New York, to see Racetrack and other of his New York films at the Museum of Moving Image's upcoming series. It runs October 9-November 7.

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Wild Courtship Moves of the Carola's Parotia

No 57

Whether a male Carola's parotia (Parotia carolae) enjoys dancing for appraising females, scientists and philosophers may never know. But dance he does. He'd better. His ability to procreate hinges on whether he can get the elaborate choreography of his species exactly, irresistibly, right.Here's how it happens. Before performing, the male prepares his stage by...

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