1975. USA. Frederick Wiseman. 167 min.
Friday, September 3, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
1975. USA. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman’s absurdist masterpiece is a purgatorio of bureaucratic and comic/cosmic inertia, culminating in one man’s unforgettable monologue about Waiting for Godot and “the whole rigmarole of forms—papers, papers, papers.” (Small wonder, then, that Wiseman, David Slavitt, and Lenny Pickett would later turn Welfare into an opera, drawing on the film’s magnificent, aria-like lamentations.) Welfare recipients and caseworkers are trapped in a system that is woefully ill-equipped to handle the problems of poverty, including unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, aging, domestic violence, child abandonment and abuse, and mental and physical illness. 167 min.