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Directed by James Marsh

United States, United Kingdom 1999 76 mins. In English

A near-perfect adaptation of Michael Lesy’s 1973 book that retains the starkness, gothic tone, and voyeuristic perspective of its source material while expanding what one expects of documentary form. Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Marsh’s (Man on Wire) multi-chaptered take on the lives and voluminous deaths of the residents of Black River Falls, Wisconsin during the last decade of the 19th century plays out like a macabre tone poem. This elgiac non-fictional composition includes narration by Ian Holm and masterful 16mm black-and-white cinematography by Egil Bryland (In Bruges). “I wanted to convey in film the real pathos contained in a four-line newspaper report that simultaneously records and dismisses the end of someone’s life.” – James Marsh

“Those who pine for the presumed simpler life and upright morals of yesteryear’s small-town Midwest have a rude, albeit wry, awakening in store with Wisconsin Death Trip.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety