1999. USA. Frederick Wiseman. 248 min.
Sunday, October 3, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1999. USA. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman’s epic Belfast, Maine is a profound and poignant study of a New England port town that fell on hard times at the end of the twentieth century. But it is more than that, too—capturing the stoic grandeur of Belfast’s lobstermen and factory workers, shop owners and town council officials, hunters, and teachers, the film becomes a brilliant and enduring meditation on American resiliency, faith, and industry. In one unforgettable sequence, Wiseman traces the process at a Maine sardine cannery; as we watch thousands of dead sardines making their way along the conveyor belt, we cannot avoid thinking about our own fragility and fate. And yet, though the exquisite efficiency of worker and machine is both mesmerizing and appalling, Wiseman does not want us to romanticize this beauty too much. 248 min.