In Jackson Heights

In Jackson Heights ★★★★½

"Like most of Wiseman’s work, the central character is not an individual, but the crowd. I can’t help wondering if Wiseman — removed from the propaganda of Soviet Russia — has truly achieved the cinema that Eisenstein wrote about. With his rigorous editing process and democratizing, observing eye, Wiseman allows the community itself to become the central character. A shot featuring a crowd of Colombians watching TV in a storefront (their images reflecting onto the game) highlight the film’s optimism as the image feels resoundingly celebratory. In Jackson Heights portrays the struggles of small business owners in the face of gentrification and corporate strangleholds, so the image — rather than taking on cynical notes — becomes about coming together. It reflects the intimacy of the co-relationship between the disappearing middle-class business owners and the communities they serve. The imposing threat of gentrification is painted as wrought with corruption and a far cry from the idealized portrait of capitalism as an agent for good and liberation. In 5-10 years, it seems impossible that the community will survive on its current path, as it will be swallowed whole by the insatiable appetite of corporate giants."

Read my full review at Vague Visages: vaguevisages.com/2015/11/16/ridm-2015-frederick-wisemans-in-jackson-heights-and-the-virtues-of-eisenstein/