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|DVD REVIEW: A Hole in a Fence|
|Written by Trent Daniel|
|Friday, 30 January 2009 10:26|
“A Hole in a Fence” is a documentary by D.W. Young.
As a child growing up in a mid-size Southern town, I have always been fascinated by New York City, that world so much different than mine. Not just of glamorous Manhattan, but of the boroughs, such as Brooklyn, as well. There has always been a strange beauty to me in the grungy image of an abandoned building, often covered with graffiti, with pockets of nature (vines, weeds) forcing its way into the cracks, like nature slowly trying to reclaim its land in an area seemingly wall to wall with people.
“A Hole in the Fence” is about such a place. By accident, the filmmaker discovered (literally through a hole in a fence) an abandoned plot of land in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Separated only by the fence, the area seems almost like a different little town, a safe have haven for both some homeless and burgeoning graffiti artists as well.
However, it does not look like the area will be around much longer. An Ikea superstore will soon move in nearby and, like most superstores will bring expansion with it, be it in the form of strip malls, other brand superstores, even extra parking.
A key strength of the film is the photography. As I hoped, the film found a kind of grungy beauty in a concrete wall, graffiti, a broken old doc, weeks growing up through concrete and asphalt. Furthermore, its key questions are worth exploring.
However, the major fault with the film is that it stretches itself too thin. “A Hole in the Fence” does not offer any answers, only asks many questions (maybe because too many of the questions offer “wait and see” as a viable answer). A simple recorded moment in time inside the abandoned lot, with its patches of nature, the makeshift homes of the homeless and the graffiti artists at work, might have proved fascinating on its own. However, when it expands into many interviews with local residents (and discusses not only the abandoned area, but the nearby park and docs as well), it becomes a bit too academic (Urban Development 101) and, well, boring (not to mention one-sided, as no representative from Ikea was ever interviewed to present the company’s opinion).
The DVD has an additional bonus film, "Views from Red Hook Grain Terminal"; Photo Gallery; Extended Interviews; Resources; Trailer.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2009 14:54|