DFT @ Home | City Hall

(USA/2020—directed by Frederick Wiseman)

At age 90, documentarian Frederick Wiseman is at the height of his powers, bringing to the screen a welcome reminder of the possibilities that do still exist within the efforts to meld community, policy, and civic engagement to shape and improve Americans’ everyday lives. Set in his home town, City Hall finds Wiseman training his gaze on the inner workings of the city of Boston, taking viewers into the public and backroom discussions that can inspire, stall or reimagine the pathways to municipal action.

As in his other recent works of institutional observation such as At Berkeley, In Jackson Heights and Ex Libris, Frederick Wiseman – a true national treasure – here reveals in increments large and small a local government’s tentative steps toward inclusivity and social reform, as well as the entrenched bureaucratic systems that keep progress and accountability in relative check.

Wiseman’s top-down approach to representing governmental function speaks to the multicultural and immigrant communities and businesses of Boston’s neighborhoods and suburbs, while also standing in for the whole of a nation continually wrestling with its legacy and debating its future. Venice, New York and Toronto Film Festivals. (272 minutes)

“Critics Pick! The magisterial City Hall is fundamentally a portrait of people – an exploration of civil society and the common good. With Wiseman’s customary sweep and detail, this is the art of resistance at its finest.” -Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“So engrossing that it deserves consideration as one of Wiseman’s greatest.” -Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com 


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