Welcome to Monrovia, Indiana. With a dwindling population of 1,083, the small town, first founded in 1834 as one of many farming communities that served as the backbone of early America, is a compelling new subject for prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest look inside the kind of places, people, and systems that make up the country. (And, quite frankly, still impact it on a massive level.)
In his latest documentary, “Monrovia, Indiana,” the filmmaker endeavors to explore “the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election.”
Per its official synopsis, “The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. The film gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries.”
“I thought a film about a small farming community in the Midwest would be a good addition to the series I have been doing on contemporary American life,” Wiseman said in an official statement. “Life in big American cities, on the east and west coasts, is regularly reported on and I was interested in learning more about life in small town America and sharing my view.”
The film will have its world premiere at Venice next month, and will go on to screen at TIFF and NYFF before rolling out theatrically. The film will open at New York City’s Film Forum on October 26, followed by a Los Angeles release on November 2, with further markets to follow in November and December.
Check out IndieWire’s exclusive poster for the new documentary below.