Gut Renovation (2013)
Welcome to Williamsburg, New York's new bohemia. Or is it? In the late 1980s artists moved into this working class neighborhood, populated by small manufacturers, Polish butchers, and auto repair shops, just across the East River. SoHo took 30 years to change from an artists' bohemia to an art gallery hotspot, to an outdoor shopping mall; Williamsburg's demise has been much faster, due in part to a 2005 zoning law change. With a winning combination of wit, anger, and political savvy, filmmaker Su Friedrich, and co-writer Cathy Quinlan, record how the neighborhood has changed from when they arrived in 1989 to the rich-hipster haven it has become. Friedrich casts a jaundiced eye on the sleek granite kitchen counters featured at the condo openings she attends; she paints graffiti on construction fences ("Artists Used To Live Here") and comments wryly on her new neighbors ("What's with all the fancy dogs?"). She gives up mapping a all new construction with building number 173. For anyone who has ever moved to an affordable neighborhood only to find that gentrification renders it unaffordable - this is the movie for you. (c) Outcast Films … More
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Critic Reviews for Gut Renovation
Rather than invoking sympathy or shared outrage, the filmmaker creates a kind of complicity with her audience, particularly as she explores the depressingly similar, sterile apartments of the high-rises steadily surrounding her.
The result is like an hour and a half listening to someone bellyache about her landlord.
What's lacking is a larger cultural, historical, and aesthetic context.
Su Friedrich's cranky, sarcastic documentary polemic about the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood ...
The navel-gazing artist class that gave Williamsburg its character (now more of a marketable "brand") has in Friedrich both a vigorous defender and, it must be said, something close to an angry parody of itself.
Friedrich, so impassioned by her subject matter, couldn't get enough objectivity to make a film that's more than just a complaint.
An all out assault on NY real estate developers and their nonstop drive to turn one of the world's great cities into a Tower of Mammon.
Very DIY project covers the scary gentrification of a beloved New York neighborhood, but ends up being more a whine-fest than truly powerful.
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