Hoover Street Revival (2002) Poster

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9/10
If you love Gospel music...
Jimbo James6 May 2005
Bishop Jones is the next big thing in evangelism. I don't know if anyone's called him the next T.D. Jakes but its very possible he's on his way. Hoover Street Revival is a unique documentary that doesn't really have a narrative thread per se, but an intimate look into the lives of the people of South Central Los Angeles and how the Bishop interacts and affects them.

The director is Sophie Fiennes. Yes, those Fiennes. How many of them are there??? She covers a lot of different ground, from a few sermons, interviews and looks at the city and downtown LA. The best part of the film though is the gospel music. If you're a fan, it's full of great melodies and hymns that will keep you tapping your feet.

For anyone who likes the Woman Thou Art Looseds of the world, this is a "real-life" version to check out.
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7/10
Slow but valuable sociological analysis
John Kingston25 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is a documentary, not a blockbuster. If you expect fast-moving revivalist antics in Blues Brothers style, or a complex interwoven plot, you'll be disappointed. But if you are interested in a realistic picture of what a slice of America is really like, you'd do much better to watch this film than any slick Hollywood production.

Most of the film is shot with handheld cameras. Fiennes uses this to good effect, for example in the blurring of the preachers' rapid hand movements. It's kind of wearing after an hour or so of it, though.

The film follows the lives of several members of the Greater Bethany church on Hoover Street, Southern LA, showing how the church is involved all through their lives, particularly through video and audio tapes of music and preaching. It also lets them talk about how their lives used to be before they found this church. And it shows some of their slightly strange-looking antics in the church itself. [END SPOILER] Fiennes seems fascinated by the uncanny pulling power of this one preacher. Yet the film is not a religious tract on video; it simply documents the phenomenon. Sociologists will love it; movie fans who demand fast-moving action will hate it; people who are wondering if anything has meaning in life should give it a try.
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