Sunday, April 23
(1975) “Please have a seat.” Amid a tidal wave of forms, obvious BS stories, heartrending (probably true) stories, a woman going nuclear after a two-hour wait with her confused mother, a stony-face worker counterpunching with a demand for mom’s house deed – and at the end the couple are still sitting. 16mm. Approx. 167 mins.
“Dantesque. The bureaucracy turns applicants into supplicants, the performance-like discussions that this system induces make for a grievously sad yet unflinching spectacle. The psychology of poverty has rarely been so well depicted, along with the inadequacy of the bureaucracy itself. Wiseman’s patient, intense portraits of individuals are as probing as paintings, and his soundtrack captures a Shakespearean range of rhetoric. The emotional result is a concentration of society’s agonizing ironies and hard-fought sympathies.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker