Film: "Monrovia, Indiana"

Dartmouth Events

Film: "Monrovia, Indiana"

Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s poetic collage of life in a small Midwestern town.

Sunday, January 13, 2019
Visual Arts Center 104 Loew Auditorium
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Films
Fee required. Tickets required.

From 1967’s groundbreaking Titicut Follies to last year’s monumental Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, prolific filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has built up one of the most vital and original bodies of work in American cinema. With his latest, Wiseman employs his trademark unobtrusive style to observe the goings-on of Monrovia, Indiana, a rural town with just over 1,000 inhabitants.

In a series of intimate, leisurely paced sequences, Wiseman captures Monrovians as they commiserate about health problems over coffee at a local diner, hawk their wares at a flea market, and gather at the cemetery to bury a family’s beloved matriarch. Wiseman devotes a significant amount of time to a series of surprisingly contentious city planning meetings, in which a discussion about fire-hydrant placement is rife with drama and subtext.

This collage of small-town life is both sweeping and purposefully objective, leaving it to viewers to find subtle cross-associations and moments of quiet pathos within the quotidian detail. At a time when the image of small-town America is invoked and manipulated by both ends of the political spectrum, Wiseman’s unsentimental, nonjudgmental approach feels like a welcome tonic.

D: Frederick Wiseman, US, 2018, 2h23m



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