In 1975, the director Frederick Wiseman took a small crew into a New York City welfare agency and proceeded to film the interactions that took place there. The result is Welfare, an arresting portrait of bureaucracy gone wrong. Wiseman’s lens captures it all—a young couple (both married to other people) seeks lodging for the night, a black cop argues with a white war veteran about racial equality, a woman becomes belligerent after failing to secure money for her ailing mother—and reveals some stunning, impartial portraits of the people affected by systemic injustices like racism, homophobia and elderly abuse. Welfare clocks in at just under three hours yet remains an engrossing film because its themes seem especially pertinent in the current economic crisis. Wiseman is known for his impartial anti-storytelling, and indeed this film refrains from judging those who rely on the welfare system and the welfare workers. Instead the film reveals two groups of people trying their hardest to navigate a difficult system.