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Subway to the Former East Village2008

  • 3.6
Richard Sandler’s gritty city symphony takes stock of New York’s Lower East Side with a decade’s worth of moments and encounters that would otherwise be lost to history. Working against gentrification’s erasures, he catalogues the neighborhood’s changes in their particularity: the closing of a community center, a woman’s funny riff on a fancy new restaurant (“Nothing remotely Polish or Russian here!”), new waves of political graffiti following the 9/11 attacks and increasing evidence of class inequity. His camera is as much of a neighborhood fixture as the chorus of street personalities that buoy the video. Brimming with crooked beauty, drag divas, brass bands, demonstrations, punk nostalgia and self-styled philosophy, SUBWAY TO THE FORMER EAST VILLAGE is every bit a labor of love.

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Member Reviews (2)

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top reviewer

A postcard I wish had not needed to be sent. Alas, Sandler does. And it's gratefully received by this viewer. May you again let the freak flag fly, East Village.

top reviewer

The remnant of the urban revolutionary in me wanted to give this Zero stars, just to make the statement that stars are a corporate tool used to judge and diminish our art. That being trite in 2012, I gave it 5 stars because it reminded me that the fabric of the village is held together by seemingly insignificant strands. This film refocuses your visual lens, zooms in for the thrill, stripteases for us, and buttons itself back up, only to strip naked once and for all. The East Village screams to us, sings, shouts, speaks gently and purposefully and lets us know it's down and definitely out, it hums and throbs and is ALIVE in exactly the same way the oversanitized sanitarium condominiums without window bars or fire escapes are dead. We have this film to remind us there is hope in hopelessness. And I don't expect that anyone who's never lived LES New York will ever understand a moment of it. RIP, LES.