It turns out that Bum's Paradise is a major work of documentary. I won't simply repeat the details as to how it was made, but it's clear that by having Rabbit, one of the 'residents' of the Albany landfill, involved in the shooting of the work allowed the piece to have an intimacy and understanding that wouldn't have otherwise come through.
Importantly, the film doesn't attempt to glamorize or 'other-ize' its subjects. You get to see them for being just the people they are, living in a situation that is both depressing in its squalor and uplifting in its freedom. The artwork created by the residents is often stunning -- the Fairy Castle being a notable stand-out, particularly as its creator is one of the least coherent people on the landfill.
The film will be screening on June 22 at The Parkway, and ought not be missed!
The venue for last night's showing, the Liberation Drive-In, is an interesting urban artifact. In a vacant parking lot on Harrison Street, the folks of Nonchalance roll up a station wagon decked out with video projection equipment, which also broadcasts a signal so you can listen in your own car. I was surprised at how few people had shown up by 10:30 -- I'd thought this has gotten better coverage. I was also disappointed that immediately following Bum's Paradise was an over-long documentary from the 70s about a Nigerian singer and the hideous political situation of the era... The flick did a lot to drive people from the drive-in -- I mean, it's a worthwhile subject and all that, but not really what you want to show at a party on a Saturday night, you know?
Still, I'm looking forward to subsequent drive-ins, the end of each month throughout the summer.
And now, some pictures from last night, of the crowd watching Bum's Paradise.
Posted by peterme at June 1, 2003 11:56 AM | TrackBack