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Detropia

74 customer reviews

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Detropia
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century: the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.


Special Features


  • Over 90 Minutes of Deleted and Extended Scenes

Review

Of all the Sundance films tackling the gap between the richest 1% and the rest of the nation…DETROPIA stands out for how it encapsulates the causes and potential solutions. --Los Angeles Times

It's elegiac, beautiful and quietly devastating. --New York Magazine

...a moving and powerful micro-portrait of a hurting nation --Indiewire

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing
  • Directors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009MBSWUS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,803 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2013
Format: DVD
I was born in Detroit, and spent the first 33 years of my life living there, and even after moving out, I'm still just two miles away. I spent most of my adult life working there. I just watched Detropia, and my first reaction was that visually it gives an excellent picture of what much of Detroit has become. Where is falls short is in the history- it's as if the past 40 years of political mismanagement and outright theft never took place. The filmmakers present a narrative in which big companies outsourced all the jobs, and the rich got together and decided to destroy the middle class and oppress the poor. But that's nonsense. Detroit's problems aren't easily explained in terms of bankrupt Marxist ideology.

We had several mayors who chased working people out of the city and plundered the public treasury. But we also had one- Dennis Archer- who had the city on a path to renewal before he was replaced by his criminally corrupt successor. Detroit's property taxes are the highest of the 50 largest cities in America, and not by a small amount. They're over 20% higher than Philadelphia, the number two on the list. We had governors who kept granting al sorts of tax breaks and special privileges to the auto industry while driving other businesses out of the state with higher taxes. The city of Detroit condemned 4,200 middle class homes and gave the land to GM, who built the Poletown plant- now closed. The residents of Poletown left the city.

My second issue with the film is that it presents only a narrow view of the city today. Yes, it's a financial nightmare, heading for bankruptcy, and a dangerous place to live. But there are also emerging centers of redevelopment at the grass roots level. There are galleries, small technology businesses, co-ops, and bakeries.
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Format: DVD
The new documentary "Detropia" by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) is, at once, an homage to a great city and its eulogy. In 1930, Detroit was considered the fastest growing city in the world. Today, it is shrinking at an alarming rate having lost a quarter of its population in the last decade alone. In this striking film, a diverse cross section of Detroit citizens muse about days gone by as they struggle with the economic reality of their city in crisis. Shot in almost a post-apocalyptic splendor, "Detropia" has an almost haunting quality that is hard to describe. Its cameras take in the landscape of an abandoned metropolis and fill this canvas with snippets of real life stories. In many ways, these are tales of survival complete with happy memories and a nostalgia for the way things were. While it doesn't offer many solutions to the current conditions (nor could it really), it paints a pretty vivid picture of the unpleasantness associated with contemporary economic trends.

While on the surface, there is much bleakness in "Detropia" due to the subject matter, it still has a vitality and hope that is somewhat unexpected. This comes from the documentary participants who share some of their lives with the viewer. They remember how great Detroit was, and they refuse to abandon her in times of hardship. Among those featured in the film, there is a bar owner, a group of local artists, a video blogger, a gang of scappers, and an opera enthusiast. But we also spend time, as you might expect, with those in industry. One particularly disturbing sequence shows a local auto union dealing with proposed pay cuts. As they rail with indignation, their refusal to acquiesce will ultimately lead to the demise of one more Detroit workforce.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SMG on June 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I was born in Detroit, and lived in the area until 10 years when both my husband and my companies closed and we had to move out of state. I was so sad to watch this film. Detroit has a great history and I am old enough to remember when it was strong and vibrant and also have seen its fall. Its current state is the result of years of mismanagement, racism and nearsightedness that drove out the middle class and left its current shell. What the film maker shows is real, but what she doesn't show is why it is so. The collapse of the auto industry definitely had an impact but frankly even if that didn't happen Detroit would be in the same position. This movie is bleak but I think it missed its mark. Detroit is not an innocent victim. It has allowed itself to be the victim and has done nothing to help itself for over 40 years. That does not come through in the film.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dee J. on December 18, 2012
Format: DVD
This is one of the better documentary films I've watched in some time, created from the perspective of the people of Detroit and recommended for anyone living anywhere in America. Sure, there are plenty of problems in the city which was once the fastest-growing area of the world, but some of the folks have SOLUTIONS to offer, too. This is a film Spike Lee or Michael Moore wished they had made! I recommend "Detropia" to all adult audiences.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Thomas, Jr. on January 20, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
"detropia" stands as a counterpoint to the fritz lang classic "metropolis." whereas "metropolis" looks to a utopian future in the industrial age, "detropia" shows us what actually came to pass. i love it's gritty, first person accounting of an empire in decline from the perspective of people living at ground zero.

the photography is amazing. the imagery of individuals going about their lives on the street is well filmed. it feels real, yet casual. there's one image that still resonates with me. it's the image of a silhouetted figure taking a drink from a bottle in an apartment on a hot night. the window is open, curtains drawn which provides a brief glimpse into the life of the other. one is left wondering how that person feels about the mayor's plans to consolidate communities to turn large swaths of abandoned space into recovered green space to be used for small scale farming.

the role of art in revitalizing communities and helping to give people a collective sense of identity is explored briefly. art is used as medium to bridge the cultures of young whites moving into the community with the historically black, lower class residents. and it is through the art interventions and the faith in renewal of the older residents of detroit that one is left with a sense that detroit will reinvent itself to rise anew like the phoenix.
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