Combustible Celluloid
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With: n/a
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Arabic, English, Hindi, Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 190
Date: 12/18/2015

In Jackson Heights (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

In 'Hood Company

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Frederick Wiseman (Boxing Gym, At Berkeley, National Gallery) returns with another of his singular documentaries. As with his other films, In Jackson Heights employs his unique fly-on-the-wall technique, wherein he somehow gets his camera close to people, to record their natural actions and reactions, without them seeming to notice or care. It feels like we're actually visiting. Jackson Heights is a neighborhood in Queens, NY, which boasts the largest melting pot in the world. Apparently some 167 languages are spoken in this one area. We meet some of these cultures and view them at work, and we see much preparation of delicious-looking food. We hear from gay groups and Latino immigrants, and we sit in on some classes. We also sit in on some neighborhood meetings because, of course, rich white people have begun to notice the neighborhood -- it's a quick train ride into Manhattan -- and have begun to attempt buying it up and gentrifying it. In one horrifying speech, a neighborhood man explains just how they do this, and folks wind up with no choice left but to sell. But despite the threat of losing everything, we see that the locals are strong, kind, wise people who have found a kind of harmony. (See Wiseman's official page for more info.)

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