Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Founded c. 1878 and incorporated in 1881, Aspen, Colorado, was once famed for silver mining. In 1949, it was the site of an international convocation in honor of the 200th anniversary of Goethe's birth. By the '50s, the community still had a population of less than 1000. Today, Aspen is known for its scenic splendor, mountains, skiing, hiking, music, intellectual activities, and fashionable people. When Frederick Wiseman filmed in Aspen for this 1991 documentary, he detailed the daily routines and activities of the people who live, work, visit and play there during the winter, contrasting wealthy lifestyles with the lingering Western way of life: on the slopes, skiers pass grimy silver ore miners; elderly fiddlers perform for change in front of expensive boutiques; a reading group discusses Flaubert; and an art gallery displays a painting of a Diet Pepsi vending machine. Harry F. Waters (Newsweek) wrote, "Wiseman pulls us straight into Aspen's dichotomous heart. There are few towns on earth so wrenched between nature and human artifice, between Old West values and the whims of the superrich at play. . . His target is Aspen and his treatment is an eyeful."
community, conflict, lifestyle, mine, resort, skiing, ski-resort, social-change, town, wealth