Must End Thursday, November 22
PRODUCED, DIRECTED & EDITED BY FREDERICK WISEMAN
Founded in 1834, Monrovia, Indiana (pop: 1063) is a small farming community that might be passed over en route to larger cities like Indianapolis or Fort Wayne. Yet 46 million Americans live in rural towns like Monrovia, once the backbone of American life. In his 44th film (the 13th premiering at Film Forum), master documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman trains his legendary camera on the town, exploring its conflicting stereotypes and illustrating how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, and generosity are lived – Christian sermons, a freemason ceremony, industrial agricultural work, a town council ruling on expanded development, and gun shop talk. All punctuated by cinematographer John Davey’s stunning, big-sky Midwestern landscapes. The importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election; MONROVIA, INDIANA provides a window into a way of life that, although central to this country’s history, is often overlooked by city dwellers.
USA 2018 143 MINS. ZIPPORAH FILMS
“Ventures into the heart of Trump country… in an extraordinary collage of daily life. Provides just enough time for Wiseman to sketch out a fully realized world… creating a rich sense of place. Takes up the very concept of middle America as a kind of poetic journey into the heartland. Captures the extent to which racial and xenophobic attitudes tend to hover in an unconscious or unspeakable state. An immersive wonder, thanks to Wiseman’s masterful ability to assemble images that lead from one painterly visual to the next… arranging each element with the delicacy of a Norman Rockwell composition.”
– Eric Kohn, IndieWire
“One of Wiseman’s most beautiful films. Wiseman’s postcard from the Midwest detects the lengthening shadows beyond the all-American sunshine. It is in fact a hallmark of Wiseman’s open-text films that multiple readings apply… the procedural and the symbolic and the unanswered and yes, the humorous all come nested within one another…Wisemans comic sense is as wicked as ever.”
– Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment