90 min / spoken language: English / NR
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 Jury Prize for American Film ~ Traverse City Film Festival 2012 Best Matter of Fact Feature FIlm & Grand Jury Award ~ Indianapolis Film Festival 2012
Special Jury Award ~ DocAviv Festival 2012 Grand Jury Prize ~ Independent Film Festival Boston 2012
"The most moving documentary I have seen in years. Both an ardent love letter to past vitality and a grateful salute to those who remain in place - the survivors, utterly without illusion, who refuse to leave. The filmmakers are so attuned to color and to shate that I was amazed by the handsomeness of what I was seeing. I'm not being perverse, this is a beautiful film."
-David Denby, THE NEW YORKER
SPELLBINDING! Imagine if Frederick Wiseman and David Lynch had a bastard child, and you'll get a sense of the movie's off-kilter aesthetic, a potent and pointed mix of firsthand observation and surreal flights of fancy. DETROPIA moves with dreamlike fluidity between union halls and nightclubs, from abandoned factories to the Detroit opera house."
-Keith Uhlich, TIME OUT NEW YORK
"The evocative new documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) is a portrait of a city that rose on utopian dreams, and then began a long decline to its current state of life support, all in just less than a century. The filmmakers pay elegy to the Detroit of the Motown era, with its thriving middle class supported by manufacturing. At the same time, they're honest about the fact that the version of Detroit local partisans yearn for is long gone and most likely not coming back."
-Karina Longworth, THE VILLAGE VOICE
"This haunting piece of documentary cinema tells the story of one city in economic decay; but really, as the real people in the film repeatedly state, this isn't just a Detroit problem; it's an American problem."
-Tambay A. Obenson, INDIEWIRE