Airs Friday, June 14, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. on KPBS 2
Located in mid-America, Monrovia, Indiana (population 1,400), founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community.
Frederick Wiseman’s 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.
Forty-six million Americans live in rural, small town America. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election.
To understand more about American life, it is important acknowledge the unique and important contributions small towns make to American character and culture, in addition to providing most of our food, raw materials and drinking water.
The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived.
It reveals a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America, but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America, and in other countries.
On his inspiration for the film Wiseman stated: “I thought a film about a small farming community in the Midwest would be a good addition to the series I have been doing on contemporary American life. Life in big American cities on the east and west coasts is regularly reported on and I was interested in learning more about life in small town America and sharing my view.”
A production of Civic Film, LLC in association with WGBH, Atacama Productions, and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for Public Broadcasting. Zipporah Films, Inc. is the distribution and production company of Frederick Wiseman’s films.