Aerial view of UC Berkeley


The Boston Globe
“I didn’t pick the school because of the financial problems, I picked it because it was Berkeley,” said Wiseman. “It’s a great university with a great history.”

The New Yorker

“The film, like most of Wiseman’s films, is about the life of an institution: the rules, principles, and ideas that constitute an institution, and their connection to the lives of people who realize it, manage it, and depend on it.”

“I can’t think of another film portrait of higher education that matches this one for comprehensiveness, intellectual depth, and hope.”


The Wall Street Journal

“Narration-free and artfully discursive, it’s a one-of-a-kind mosaic portrait of a great institution struggling, under dire stress, to retain its essential character at a time of declining support for public education.”


The Los Angeles Times
“An involving portrait of what’s called ‘one of the world’s most powerful knowledge-producing institutions’ and an examination on how that institution is coping with a significant financial crisis.”

“There is so much quick and sound-bite-type of information, but a long-form documentary presents a complex and detailed view of a subject in contemporary life.”



Wiseman Q&A: “I’ve learned more about how to put a movie together from books that I’ve read than movies that I’ve seen.”


The Daily Beast

Wiseman Q&A: “Institutions are a pretext to have a look at a wide variety of human behavior.”


The Village Voice logo
Frederick Wiseman on At Berkeley: “Berkeley is Really the Face of Modern America”


New York Times

“[The film’s] cautiously upbeat attitude is expressed in a director’s note: ‘I think it is just as important for a filmmaker to show people of intelligence, character, tolerance and good will, hard at work, as it is to make movies about the failures, insensitivities and cruelties of others.’”

“Mr. Wiseman has established himself as one of America’s greatest chroniclers in any medium.”

“…unless everyone else in higher education takes a hard look at their model, the promise of higher education as the means to upward mobility will continue to diminish.”


Chronicle of Higher Education

“Mr. Wiseman returns again and again to … the challenge of preserving Berkeley’s elite character and public mission while slashing expenses.”


The Huffington Post

“Throughout the budget storm, the UC schools have maintained their top global and national rankings, and faculty continued to win multiple Nobel prizes.”


“…a film that feels, on balance, hopeful … Wiseman’s Berkeley is a place where both administrators and students try to articulate broad ideals and apply them to their specific situations and environments.”


The San Francisco Chronicle

“The film is short, by his measure, so he titled it At Berkeley, instead of Berkeley, to suggest ‘that what you are going to see are events that happened at Berkeley, not all of Berkeley,’ he says. ‘You couldn’t cover all aspects of Berkeley in a 40-hour film.’”



Wiseman Q&A: “I certainly hope that people come away with the idea that this is a great university and the idea of cutting it down by cutting the budget is a great loss not just for the university but for the community and for the country.”



At Berkeley is both a work of social observation and a work of philosophy … [on] how the crisis at our greatest public university reflects crippling inequality and the dangers of austerity.”



“It’s a rare Wiseman moment in which the filmmaker’s own deeply held belief seems to flicker into view beneath the speaker’s words: Education, like speech, should be free.”


Entertainment Weekly

“I don’t know that anyone has ever had access to an American university in the manner of which they gave me permission … I could go wherever I wanted.”


Hollywood Reporter
“Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley, his classy-as-ever 38th documentary about America’s leading public institution of higher learning.”


Forum on KQED

AUDIO: “In ‘At Berkeley,’ a Top School Struggles to Fulfill its Public Mission”


“A monumental exploration of the famous California university emerges as a rigorous, deeply insightful institutional study, and a hymn to the power of open communication, particularly in the context of modern-day America.”


“The result is one of Wiseman’s best, a summation of sorts of a career’s worth of principled filmmaking from a director in his ninth decade.”


LA Weekly

Wiseman Q&A: “Berkeley is really the face of modern America.”



VIDEO: Frederick Wiseman discusses his latest film, “At Berkeley”, which sheds light on the university’s method of achieving both their educational and financial goals.


The Playlist

“An expansive, lengthy and totally brilliant film taking a look behind the scenes of California’s legendary institution, from the school’s professors and administrative staff to the students of almost every stripe.”


The Washington Post

“At Berkeley, Wiseman’s latest documentary … underscores a larger theme: the virtues and necessity of affordable higher education.”


Chicago Sun-Times

At Berkeley earns credit for documenting a distinctly articulate community.”


KALW local public radio in San Francisco

AUDIO: “[Wiseman’s] film At Berkeley takes us into the classrooms, research labs, administrative meetings, stadiums and protests at an institution in the middle of a severe financial crisis.”