From “Ruin Porn” to Sundance, the more people who hear the story of Detroit, the faster and stronger is will come back.
Josh Linkner says it best ” we need to stop apologizing for who what Detroit is not, and start celebrating what Detroit is”
I am looking forward to seeing this film and more importantly participating in the growth in Detroit!
Review: Detropia successfully symbolizes Detroit and nations anguish TOM LONG SEPTEMBER 14, 2012
Once teeming with possibility, now crippled by unemployment, corruption, outsourcing and hopeless despair.
That description could fit America as a whole, but in particular it fits Detroit as shown in the new documentary “Detropia,” made by Metro Detroiter Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the duo who delivered the Oscar-nominated “Jesus Camp” a few years back.
It’s the latest in a recent spate of documentaries examining the crumbling of the once-powerful Motor City, and many of the images here — the overgrown lots and abandoned houses, the empty streets and factories — are familiar. But “Detropia” sets itself apart in some key ways.
First, it has no particular drum to bang — for the most part it just offers images and varied perspectives. Second, its cast of characters — the people the camera follows — are extremely well chosen. And third, the film doesn’t buy into two common cliches offered up about the city these days: that its woes are all the result of racism, but it’s about to be saved by an influx of young artists and hipsters.
The film acknowledges the city’s racial problems in passing, just as it looks in on the arty types. But racism didn’t close factories and artists aren’t opening them, so instead “Detropia” goes for the big picture.
Among those painting that picture are union leader George McGregor, facing another plant closing and lowball wages; blogger Crystal Starr, exploring the city’s ruins and uncovering the waste; and most eloquently, retired teacher and bar owner Tommy Stevens, who’s seen his neighborhood and business falter as factories close and the future seems ever more grim.
There are some missteps — scenes from the Detroit Opera House seem out of sync — but overall, the flow of images and real speak is effective. No one film is going to capture a subject as huge as this, but “Detropia” comes close.
It’s clear here Detroit is just the most extreme example of America’s woes. People need jobs, businesses need to produce things, streets need to be safe, and those worries are in no way exclusive to Detroit.
It’s just that what was once the fastest-growing city in America is now the fastest-shrinking, and the problems are both more obvious and egregious. “Detropia” offers up a mirror to the country: This is what the future may look like. Now, what do you want to do about it?
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