ASPEN is a film about a town famous in the 19th century for silver mining and now known for its scenic splendor, mountains, skiing, hiking, music, intellectual activity and fashionable people. The film documents the daily life and activities of the people who live, work, visit and play in Aspen in the winter.
Wiseman pulls us straight into Aspen’s dichotomous heart. There are few towns on earth so wrenched between nature and human artifice, Old West values and the whims of the superrich at play. Some carefully juxtaposed moments: elderly fiddlers playing for money in front of pricey boutiques; begrimed miners gouging for silver ore as tonily garbed skiers schuss the pristine slopes. It’s the same with the culture scene. A local reading group engages in a lively, perceptive debate about a short story by Flaubert. Down the road, an art-gallery show unveils paintings of a pay phone, a fire hose and a Diet Pepsi vending machine… His target is Aspen, and his treatment is an eyeful.
–Harry F. Waters, Newsweek
Wiseman’s view of Aspen and the Aspenites is clearly that the place and its people are a study in contrasts, some of them touching and some of them absurd… And even when the people on the screen are behaving in ways that seem foolish or frivolous, the intoxicating seductiveness of the place comes through. ‘ASPEN’ is glorious, town and film.
–Tom Shales, The Washington Post