Directed by: Mike Mintz, Irad Straus
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Alexander Reams
There is a place, one that most of society either doesn’t look at or doesn’t want to look at. A place where the people who can’t remain in quickly gentrifying neighborhoods, the people that come with them, or the inflation. Once they can’t keep up, they are forced out, onto the streets, into the Bowery. This underground frontier, where the struggles are reminiscent of the old west, is a place where people are fighting for their homes daily, fighting addiction, and given its location, the weather. In the harsh winters of New York and the blazing sun in the summer, the elements are even harsher than the people that forced them out of their homes. Directors Mike Mintz and Irad Straus frighteningly capture this reality for many people, mostly people of color, how they are forced to live every day, and yet capture a certain beauty in the macabre reality, particularly one scene where a man lights up a cigarillo in the sunset.
I found Mintz and Straus’ direction to be the strongest aspect of this film, balancing multiple narratives with ease and not overcomplicating it, allowing them to intersect a few times. They don’t mince words with the reality of their situation, but they never venture into being preachy which is a refreshing change of pace for this sort of documentary. While I believe that this film is one of the most important I’ve seen this year (so far) there is a certain level of disconnection between the filmmakers and their audience, as there is no clear audience that this is made for, it’s just there, but not in the way the MCU is made for many audiences, I can’t say what audience this is for it opens several doors, but there’s only so far you can go on that. Again, this film should be seen by all, as the perspective it will provide is very useful for all of us.