Conformity, Education, Secondary -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, Education, Secondary -- United States -- Case studies, Education, Urban -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, High school students -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, High school students -- United States -- Attitudes, High school teachers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, High school teachers -- United States -- Attitudes, High school teaching -- United States, High schools -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- Case studies, High Schools -- United States -- Case studies, Northeast High School (Philadelphia, Pa.), Teacher-student relationships -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, Teacher-student relationships -- United States, Urban schools -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, Urban schools -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- Case studies, Urban schools -- United States -- Case studies

High School

  • In Person

“Establish that you can be a man and take orders,” the dean of discipline at Philadelphia's Northeast High admonishes a student hauled into the office for a minor infraction. At this middle-class, mostly white school, obedience to authority is lesson number one. Taken on its release in 1969 as an antiestablishment cry against institutional conformity, Wiseman’s documentary has acquired added resonance with age. Nearly fifty years later, educational methods may have changed, but the expressions of dreary futility on the students’ faces are still uncomfortably familiar. Meanwhile, Wiseman shows a chilling historical reality encroaching on the school’s closed system. A collage on a classroom wall is labeled “Our Troubled World”; a teacher reads aloud a letter from a former student who has learned to be a man and take orders in Vietnam: “I am only a body doing a job,” he writes. The teacher glows, “To me this means we are very successful.”

Juliet Clark
  • Richard Leiterman
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 75 mins
  • Zipporah Films

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Composing an American epic: the films of Frederick Wiseman (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Phillip Lopate, 2002

Frederick Wiseman : American filmmaker (program note), Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2000

An afternoon with Frederick Wiseman (flyer), University of California, Berkeley, 1990

High school (program note), 1975

The films of Frederick Wiseman (program note), Chicago International Film Festival, 1972

Don't you talk -- just listen! (article), Saturday Review, James Cass, 1969

Helps me stealing hubcaps... (review), Daily Californian (Berkeley, Calif.), Marti Keller, 1969

High school (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1969

[Frederick Wiseman] (program note)

High school (program note)

Displaying 10 of 11 publicly available documents.

View all High school documentation on CineFiles.