The latest by famed documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman focuses on the small midwestern town of Monrovia in Indiana. In a little under 2 and a half hours, we are introduced to every aspect of town life from local council meetings about fire hydrants to Masonic ceremonies to high school musical rehearsals.
All the while Wiseman gently exposes with no little humor, the civic pride and local ties born of people who have lived for generations in this rural haven that feels as if it is slowly dying even as new homes are built, and new families threaten to arrive.
The strong desire for life to continue as before clashes, regularly with the imperatives of economic growth that many in the town seem resistant too.
The film ends appropriately enough with a funeral service and burial. When the earth falls on the lowered coffin, it reminds us of the opening scenes with the tilled soil of rural farmland thus bringing a strong sense of circularity to the narrative.