About a month and a half ago, I attended a screening of indie documentarian Virginie-Alvine Perrette’s 35-minute film that documents the closing of New York City’s neighborhood stores (you can see my Q & A with Perrette here).
The project is both an admirable exercise in inspired DIY-journalism and, hopefully, a wake-up call for New Yorkers. Perrette’s effort to get to know her subjects during six years of filming shines through, and the result is both unassuming and genuinely affecting. She captured children reaching for treats across the counter, cardboard boxes exchanging hands and owners chatting with locals; in many cases, she stood alongside store owners with her camera as they closed their registers for the last time.
Most importantly, the film isn’t structured to be a sob story; to gain insight into what gentrification says about the state of our civilization, Perrette consulted several authors and academics. Their voices offer a credible frame to the finished film.
Perrette is currently showing the film at venues around New York City. At least four screenings are scheduled for the next two months:
-Saturday, May 3rd at 2pm. Sponsored by Long Island City Alliance, Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, Queens
-Saturday, May 10th at 3pm. Sponsored by Center For the Urban Environment, 167 7th Street, Brooklyn
-Thursday, June 5th at 7pm. Sponsored by Common Cents, 570 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan
-Thursday, June 12th at 7pm. St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, 131 East 10th Street, Manhattan
If you’re in the area, I strongly recommend attending. It’s a way to show your support for both local businesses and local artists like Perrette.