The Toronto International Film Festival, which runs through Sept. 16, wouldn’t be the same without a film from legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman, whose Zipporah Films has long been based in Cambridge.
Wiseman, 88, has screened many of his films at TIFF over the years, including “At Berkeley’’ in 2013, “National Gallery’’ in 2014, and last year’s “Ex Libris — The New York Public Library.’’ Wiseman was back at TIFF this week with “Monrovia, Indiana,’’ his detailed portrait of life in a small rural town.
After TIFF, “Monrovia, Indiana,’’ will have its US premiere on Sept. 30 at the New York Film Festival before it is released Oct. 26 in several major cities with more added through November and December.
At two hours and 20 minutes, “Monrovia, Indiana’’ isn’t the endurance test of some of Wiseman’s other films. (“At Berkeley,’’ for example, is four hours long.) Still, it boasts Wiseman’s trademark immersive style. We see a Bible study group, banter in a barbershop and at a diner, a classroom lecture about the town’s past glories in high school basketball, and even pigs being rounded up and herded into a truck.
The Boston-born Wiseman, who has directed 42 documentaries since 1967, was awarded an Oscar in 2016 for lifetime achievement. Earlier this year, he was one of three filmmakers, along with Agnes Varda and Wim Wenders, invited to deliver Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard.