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The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. Is the Midwestern icon actually a canary in the American coal mine? DETROPIA is a cinematic tapestry of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.Written by
Detropia: A Surreal Journey Through The Economic Jungle Called Detroit
Detropia is a film made by Hiedi Ewing and Rachel Grady which follows the journey of the residence in Detroit struggling with the economically bleeding city. This film really speaks through visually stunning images that look into the every day lives of individuals rather than at macro city level. This movie does more than just tells you facts that look surprising, Its purpose is it to humanize Detroit, to take the stereotypes and knowledge people have and twist it into an personal level. As the film markers follow four people in Detroit, we see how they make their lives work within a city that is failing to provide optimized support. We see the lives of a bar owner, a young artist, a young woman, and union leader...and though their occupations vary, It becomes clear that Detroit is on each of their conscious.
People have this image of this Detroit, as a failing, unhappy, poor place to be. Detroit is a shrinking town, now supporting 700,000 people instead of some 2 million. But that is not the point of the film, even though they address some statistical points, the directors want people watching the film to dismay the background information that has been built up by the media. The Film works to create a complex image that looks at the people and relationships, rather than the overall dismal economic stance the Detroit has. To be able to get the most from the film, one must keep and open mind and let the film lead them.
The most interesting part of the film, is the young white artist who moved to Detroit for opportunity. Obviously more people leave than enter, but it becomes interesting to think that people can find opportunity in Detroit. The artist wanted to do street art and public installation, and the reason he picked Detroit from anywhere else he was was:
"25,000 dollars for an amazing loft (and studio), that just makes it accessible to people like me. I would have never be able to afford or own a home as a artist (elsewhere), here I can" ... "We can experiment here cause if we fail, we haven't really fallen anywhere." He and many young artist who are making a community here find Detroit a place to experiment and actually provide them with more than better cities as house values are extremely low in Detroit. This examples makes the viewers really focus on the individual level, cause it proves the big picture does not always apply to the individuals living in that picture.
Throughout the whole movie whole film, we follow the different characters and feel their pain. The union leader gets to tell people that their wages will go from $12 or $13 to $8 or $9; and for every one step forward he gains, he loses two. Young woman explores the abandoned houses, filming herself the empty and sorrowful decay of beautiful structures that once provided so much. And the bar owner, providing culture, food, and drinks to less and less people as car jobs dwindle ever more. By looking at the city though their eyes we get to have a much wider view of Detroit than most people who only read the news.
This documentary was very successful at being an insightful film. It forces people to look at different perspectives while narrating in a hauntingly beautiful way. There was lots of silence in the film, which allows for the audience to absorb the important conversation created from the residence, to let it dwell in their minds before the movie redirects their attention. Even the opera music in this, has story of its own...as we watch The Detroit Opera house struggling to survive another year. We learn that Detroit affects everyone but not just through a sweeping statistic, everyone feels from the effects from Detroit different. This film would be highly recommended from me as I feel it truly adds another complex layer to poverty and filing cities. This film also holds attention so well without even asking, one just simply gets sucked into the music and the profound images. They do not try to explain everything right away, they just allow you to site there and place yourself within the scene before making a comment. This Film is a very good what that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to experience as much as, if not more, than learn about the city.
This is a great film worth the watch.
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