STATE LEGISLATURE shows the day-to-day activities of the Idaho Legislature during an entire session. Lobbyists, lawmakers and their constituents are seen debating and discussing the concerns of the electorate, on issues that range from violence in schools, mad cow disease and video voyeurism to illegal immigration, secondhand smoke and the deregulation of telephone rates. The film is an example of the achievements, values, constraints and limitations of the democratic process.
New York Magazine names STATE LEGISLATURE one of the top ten things on TV in 2007
The New York Times calls STATE LEGISLATURE "absolutely mesmerizing" in anticipation of its New York City premiere
The most important living filmmaker in the U.S. takes a close look at the workings of the Idaho State Legislature with its different committees and chambers. The discussions range over a large variety of issues, most of which have little in common save for the fact that they concern the good people of Idaho, yet one has the impression that all these individuals are talking to one another, that there’s a dialogue, a sense of working at something that’s much bigger than all the legislature’s committees put together, bigger in fact than the state itself – in a word, civilization. This begins with individuals gathering together, and so the film’s opening and closing prayer-session sequences suggest that the legislature as at once a family, a community, and a place of history and therefore of both change and memory. Amazing grace indeed.
–Olaf Möller, Film Comment
. . . the “ordinary” citizens who work in the Idaho State Legislature . . . are public servants who take their responsibility to the citizenry very seriously. No matter on which side of the issues they fall, they are dedicated and passionate advocates for their constituents and the rule of law. To call this film inspiring seems trite. STATE LEGISLATURE is better than that. It is reassuring: the democratic process in America is working—in Idaho, at least.
–Patricia Finneran, Silverdocs Film Festival Program 2007
Every scene builds a profound, still-blossoming story about liberty and the democratic process . . . this film is valuable to disaffected skeptics, too, because Wiseman reveals how ordinary people wrestle to make our law . . .
–Dan Popkey, The Idaho Stateman
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
released 2006, 217 minutes
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