Located in mid-America, Monrovia, Indiana, (population 1400), founded in 1812, is primarily a farming community. The film is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community.
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I want my life to be beautiful and small and with purpose. Small town life often feels so repressive and suffocating, but there's something so lovely about fighting to build a bench at a town hall meeting. I wanted to cry.
It seems as though the filmmakers are tempting us to make judgments here based on the archetypical conservative american totems put on display here (farming, gun shops, motorcycles, rednecks, the heartland, etc.) yet no statement is ever made; This is merely a presentation of people without a perspective or bias. As such, I took it as a challenge not to fall back on prelearned judgments, but to simply watch.
In a way, all of Frederick Wiseman's movies that I watched do, but especially MONROVIA, INDIANA plays out like the best Google street view experience you will ever have. One in which you could creep into any building and listen to people's conversations.
Viennale _ It is hard to answer this : what is "Monrovia, Indiana" really about ? Sure it captures with neutral distance the life of a community, in an agricultural region. The film is not as political as expected. Wiseman shows without giving with his editing (his only way to comment) too much clue on his personal take. Interesting for a documentary : we are given the material but we have to actively work it out.