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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


The City
Directed by David Riker
New Yorker Video 06/05 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

Those films that take us to places where we do not want to go are oftentimes the greatest spiritual teachers. Most of us are so confined by our own small worlds of making do and getting ahead that we are oblivious to the daily suffering and frustration of poverty-stricken immigrants who inhabit our larger cities. To truly see these invisible people and to empathize with their struggle involves a movement of the heart.

Writer and director David Riker has created four stories of Latin American immigrants living in New York City that activate the energies of the heart. In the first, a young man joins a day labor pool and is taken in a truck with nine others to an abandoned lot filled with debris. Their task is to scavenge old bricks, earning 15 cents for each one they clean. While reading a letter from his wife during a break, the young man's future is determined by an unstable wall.

In the second story, an eager arrival from a small town in Mexico crashes a sweet 15 party and meets a girl who gives him a place to stay. In the third, a homeless puppeteer unsuccessfully tries to get his daughter enrolled in school but learns that regulations are more important than the soul of a child. And in the fourth, a seamstress in a sweatshop who hasn't been paid for a month tries to raise $400 for her daughter's medical treatment in Mexico.

These black and white dramas sow the seeds of hope that one day soon we will become more aware of our common humanity. To see our stories in these urban vignettes is a very small but salutary beginning.

Special features include a theatrical trailer, scene selections, and a featurette "The Making of a Community Film."


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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