Frederick Wiseman, one of the giants of American documentary filmmaking, spent a month in the fall of 1996 shooting 110 hours of footage of life in a small New England town, and this four-hour-and-eight-minute feature was the result. As is his custom, Wiseman has added no narration or explanatory titles and prevents his camera from intruding any more than is necessary; the result is a lively and direct look at how a community functions. The city of Belfast, Maine has suffered an economic downturn in recent years, and the town is gearing up for a new business (a credit card collection facility) that it hopes will give the local economy a boost. In the meantime, the people of Belfast go on with their lives, trapping lobsters, canning fish, making doughnuts, teaching school, handling court cases, helping the poor and indigent, staging a local production of Death of a Salesman, celebrating holidays, and trying to make the most of their evenings and weekends. Belfast, Maine enjoyed an enthusiastic response in its screening at the 1999 Montreal Film Festival and was scheduled for broadcast on PBS early in 2000.