In Jackson Heights. 2015. USA. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. 190 min.
The history of New York has always been about gentrification, the moneyed and the have-nots, and the arrival of each successive wave of new immigrants bringing new sounds and tastes, new talents, and new resentments. These are among the myriad subjects of Frederick Wiseman’s latest magisterial account of what America means to him, observing nine weeks in the teeming life of Jackson Heights, Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse and colorful neighborhoods in New York (and, by extension, the world). Wiseman’s polyglot cast of characters, largely from Latin and South America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, includes a halal butcher, an eyebrow-plucking beautician, a mender of over-loved Jesus figurines, a gay support group, and an unforgettably funny taxi-driving-school instructor. Courtesy of Zipporah Films.