An epic look at Boston’s city government, covering racial justice, housing, climate action, and more.
An epic look at Boston’s city government, covering racial justice, housing, climate action, and more.
Wiseman's sets out to do two contradictory but equally essential things: City Hall is a defense of the importance of state presence and the good of public servants to serve community and at same time it slowly set ups the ways in which as well run as Boston might be and as much as the mayor might have a great rethoric about inclusion, it still isn't enough, all that effort great as it is doesn't really covers everyone equally. So it is both a high praise for the ways the state is present and caustic commentary in the ways it still isn't (how much it is either one of those is something open to audiences and how each one feels…
1) get frederick the vaccine ASAP.
2) i'm always in awe of how incisive he is with such behemoth subjects (with such matter-of-fact titles!) and he pulls it off by laying out all the mess, here one sprawling meeting at a time.
A scene close to the end Displays a community meeting in reference with a soon-to-open dispensary. Wiseman plays out this in full, ensuring the variance of angers, frustrations, fatigues, are given their space to make distinction for themselves. This is in contrast to the prior focus on very systematically orchestrated bureaucracy, very assured democratic sentiments. The rift laid bare is clear, incisive and, in the moment of realization, when we are confronted with such unfamiliar behavior in the context of the film, striking ardently at the alienation of a government from the people they insist are represented by and employers of said body politic.
The illusion of relative neutrality in Wiseman is quickly dispelled upon gaining an understanding of his philosophy, that while his subjects are never manipulated, the very structuralism of filmmaking is by nature manipulative, hence his rejection of terms like vérité and to a large degree even documentary. Wiseman is a human with identity, as much a character as everyone else in his cosmic play, consciously seeking out the drama of the everyday as he assembles his portraits of one American (occasionally Parisian and one-time UK) cultural institution after another. A largesse toward the people who continually consent to appear in his work and a fidelity to 'direct' experience stripped of agenda when editing has resulted in perhaps the most painstaking…
Groundbreaking documentarian Frederick Wiseman has created another magnificent documentary which is abounding in ritual impetuses of the myriad of responsibilities and interests tied to Bostons administrative building; where the personnel inside desire to conserve or salvage constituents' confidence.
It's a fascinating four-and-a-half-hour examination of issues such as homelessness, racial justice as well as the city's environmental efforts to name just a few of its interests. The ninety-year-old filmmaker transmits plenty of energy in his return to the kind of diverse urban neighbourhood documentary which he's charted so incredibly during a prestigious career stretching back to 1967's Titicut Follies.
His camera employs his typical day-to-day observational technique, and he swings from eavesdropping on conferences with city employees who are earnestly attempting…
Fun fact: I nearly bodychecked the diminutive Frederick Wiseman at TIFF in 2017 when I was running around a corner to get to my seat, so you can thank my quick reflexes that he's still alive and this movie exists.
Originally posted on my blog.
Revered documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s four and a half hour documentary about Boston’s city government ends up, frustratingly, as too reflective of its subject. This is a well meaning, extremely competently put together thing that is often fascinating but, ultimately, is so unwieldy and talky that it never really gets anything done.
This is an exhaustive, fly on the wall look at everyday process and, to be honest, it is just a lot. The idea seems to be (I say ‘seems’ because the presentational approach eschews any obvious intent) to show process, importance and a little bit of hope. It focuses almost entirely on constructive, community efforts. We see vignettes about important issues being discussed and…
A.V. Club review. The usual (for recent Wiseman) mix of fascinating and tedious, extended in this case to an ass-numbing 4.5 hours. There's a good 90 minutes' worth of meetings in which you can plainly see that the people who are actually in the room would love to be elsewhere. Highlights are strong, though.
Nonagenarian national treasure Frederick Wiseman returns with another kaleidoscopic look at the function and practice of community, policy, and civic engagement in shaping Americans’ everyday lives. This time, Wiseman trains his gaze on the inner workings of the city of Boston, taking viewers into the public and backroom discussions that can either inspire or stall municipal action. As in such recent works of penetrative institutional analysis as At Berkeley and In Jackson Heights, Wiseman shows—without editorializing or casting broadsides—a country’s steps toward inclusivity and social reform, as well as the entrenched systems that keep progress 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 constantly wrestling with its legacy and debating its future. A Zipporah Films release.
Watched this in bits and pieces over several weeks with my wife, who works in the city hall of a much smaller city. She’s confirms that it’s an accurate representation of city government: lots of meetings, more good than bad, a bit dull in parts.
☆"People didn't understand all the work that we're doin'. And, like, I don't think we do a good enough job of telling that story."☆
Government is good.
That's a hot take nowadays, but it's true. I'm not talking about politicians, or parties, or really any individuals or certain groups. I mean government as a whole. It is good, it is needed, it is worth understanding. Frederick Wiseman in City Hall doesn't attempt to tell you these things, but like all his objectively filmed documentaries it will show them to you. And it's another brilliant addition to the filmography of this legendary and uniquely American director. What Cahiers du Cinéma called the best film of 2020 is an essential watch for…
entrancing, boston baby, they thought we'd never be the subject of a palme d'or documennary, number one city of champions go sox go pats
Another profoundly humanistic film from Wiseman. Most effective in its collages of what a city government has to deal with—murder and parking passes, scammed seniors and wheelchair accessibility, homeless trans youth and traffic management, veterans services and discriminatory business practices. Absolute banality shoulder to shoulder with tabloid headlines, every day at the city hall.
The tedium of some parts doesn’t strike me as a flaw. The amount of tedium that is involved in public projects, public outreach, public advocacy and public governance is staggering, and the willingness to stay focused through an industrial dose of tedium in order to get things done is an aspect of politics and governance that goes severely underappreciated in most popular depictions.
[Film #12 from USA]
For anyone who believes that films can have no immediate positive effect on the way world runs. They seem to have had on 2020 presidential election. Here's how I see it.
City Hall has a curious connection with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Both were produced to express agitation makers of both film had with Trumpism. Both had an immigrant as protagonist. Released just a week before the election. They were meant as one final call to not let the blunder of 2016 repeat again. Even with a similar fly-on-wall perspective, their approach in communicating that largely varied.
This is anything but a comedy, let alone being a improv mockery like Borat sequel. This…
wiseman é a única pessoa autorizada a fazer um filme de quatro horas e meia
We need a million more people who are just really excited about old ass seashells
City Hall, Frederick Wiseman's wholly immersive, 272-minute mammoth of a documentary, never drags for a second. In the toxic climate in which we live, it is refreshing to see a film about American politics that isn't entirely negative and actually features leaders doing good because they believe in helping their fellow humans. In the film, Marty Walsh, the former mayor of Boston who is now a member of President Biden's cabinet, comes across as a genuinely dedicated public servant who cares for all Bostonians. True to the director's style, there are no talking heads or narration to pander to convention and bog down the pacing. The film is a masterstroke of editing and matter-of-fact documentation.
There are many standout scenes…
WOW. We all appreciate a Masterpiece but I love an Epic and this is exactly the latter. Not seen anything else by Wiseman but I would love to and this is his first film that has been brought to my attention. I loved how this was edited and presented.
I hadn’t watched a documentary film in a while so this made it up for that. I can’t recommend this enough but I think the length and scope will either pull people in or push them away but if you were to say to me “4.5 hour film about local government and wider society in Boston” my eyes would light up. As someone who has worked in local government and for…
El snyder cut de esto va a estar intenso.
«Frederick Wiseman, c’est l’un de ces grands cinéastes qui mourra sans doute en faisant ce qu’il aime, dans la salle de montage où s’opère la magie de son art, où son regard aguerri scrute, dissèque et extrait l’essence des institutions sociales qu’il observe des mois durant. À 90 ans, il fait penser depuis longtemps aux vénérables grands maîtres, Kurosawa, Godard, Eastwood, Varda, Mekas, des artistes pour qui la retraite n’est même pas envisageable au vu de l’amour cinéphile qui les anime corps et âme. L’œil du documentariste s’est écarquillé par contre, depuis ses flamboyants débuts à l’asile d’aliénés de Bridgewater, et de la synthèse percutante (Titicut Follies , High School …), il est passé depuis à l’observation monumentale, la sémiologie patiente, la politique subtile, sculptant désormais son propos dans le temps et la multiplication des opérations institutionnelles archiprosaïques qui servent d’engrenages minuscules dans des ensembles cyclopéens»...
How can it be regarded as objective? Fredrick Wiseman observes the smallest division of the huge bureaucratic system. Through all the particular details, good or bad, we can still see the hope of democracy. It's Trump's finale.
A four and a half hour documentary about local government in Boston, from a 91-year old director who previously oversaw a three hour work about a public library, sounds like the definition of tedium. That definition is wrong. City Hall is a captivating project. Like looking at blueprints or sewer maps, there exists a wonderful fascination in seeing how mankind’s synthetic systems operate. True, one may wish to break up the lengthy viewing experience into three chunks, but Frederick Wiseman has created a civics lesson akin to a dozen school field trips you never had.
City Hall is a documentary mosaic, touring over fifty departments for durations ranging from 10 minutes to 20 seconds. It places activities on screen without…
At any congregation of any sort:
Mayor Walsh: “you know, when I was growing up...”
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