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Directed by Frederick Wiseman

United States 2018 143 mins. In English

Master documentarian of institutions Frederick Weisman’s 43rd film is a vital, painstaking look into the daily lives and rituals of the townsfolk of Monrovia, Indiana, by-and-large a farming community, during the lead-up to the 2016 election. The town, barely 1,000 inhabitants strong, is like many in the Midwest: weddings, funerals, social gatherings, church, and the like structure the lives of the people of Monrovia. But in true Wiseman fashion, a fascination with the way a society is organized leads his focus to an interesting series of city council meetings that baldly display the hard work and debate that goes into each and every decision subtly affecting American life. That we can extrapolate the inner workings of Monrovia to other locales is no surprise; the way that we see ourselves in the town’s residents is perhaps the real surprise of this important work. “We have a heartbreaking tendency to feel that our existences are small compared to the pop-cultural mythos—of sports, movies, politics, and TV—that engulfs our imaginations. By spinning everyday lives into media, Wiseman casually reveals the opera of everyday life.”—Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine.

Genres: Documentary