Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Detropia was the first film I saw in Albuquerque, and though I knew it was likely to be a heavy topic, I didn’t think I would leave the documentary with suicidal tendencies.  It was a well-made film that exposed some shocking truths about Detroit that I had no idea existed.  I don’t live in the US most of the time, but I am I so out of touch that I didn’t realize that in the last three years, the situation of urban flight has gotten so bad that whole neighborhoods stand empty?  This evidence, illustrated by bulldozed houses, empty streets, a bit of good ol’ fashioned urban exploration, and meetings in the Mayor’s office to curb this potentially devastating tendency, was more than surprising.  Juxtaposed against the state of unions vs corporations—and lack of local jobs in general, illustrated devastatingly by gangs of unemployed young men using 4x4s to tear apart buildings for scrap metal to sell—it might be enough to make a viewer suicidal.  However, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady swoop this story up with some needed humor, music, and soul, usually provided by Detroit residents themselves.  These people come from various walks of life; the numerous excerpts from the Detroit Opera House, contrary to belief, enhance the issues at stake and create a real sense of verisimilitude.  The people here are genuine and usually highly intelligent, informed, and you really care about them.  The documentary ends on a tentative high note, with young people re-infiltrating Detroit’s ghost towns, but methinks we’re not out of the woods yet.  http://www.detropiathefilm.com/credits.html

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