City Hall, a documentary by Oscar winner Frederick Wiseman, explores the government of Boston, Massachusetts from racial justice, housing, climate change action and more. Wiseman’s documentaries don’t have a standard narrative arc, narration, or interviews, but are based on observation of day-to-day organizational life, in this case the activities of Boston’s city government in fall 2018 and winter 2019. Much of the film follows Mayor Marty Walsh in activities such as meetings with aides, addressing business leaders about the impact of climate change on the Harbor, listening to veterans at Faneuil Hall on November 11, observing Thanksgiving Day at Goodwill Industries, and giving his state of the city address at Symphony Hall. A second major theme of the film is public servants helping people in need: the eviction prevention task force, another task force on economic advancement for Latina women, and an economic development adviser working with an ethnically-focused grocery store.
The film had its world premiere at the 2020 Venice Film Festival on September 8, 2020. It also screened at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival in September 2020.
City Hall clocks in at a whopping four and a half hours.