It has never been easier to catch up on the staggeringly rich back catalog of master documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. Forty of his films can now be streamed for free through Kanopy, the on-demand service available through partnerships with libraries around the world, including the Los Angeles Public Library.
Wiseman's particular genius has been to map the contours of American life through its institutions, big and small, something he achieves to mesmerizing effect in movies as different as "High School" (1968), "Hospital" (1970), "Public Housing" (1997), "La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet" (2009) and "At Berkeley" (2013). Fittingly enough, given the venue, his latest magnum opus, and one of his finest, is "Ex Libris: The New York Public Library" (2017). It's the one Wiseman doc that isn't available on Kanopy yet, but it will be in the fall, following its broadcast on PBS.