For over a century, Carnegie Hall rented affordable studio apartments atop the famous music hall to artistic tenants such as Marlon Brando, Paddy Chayefsky and Isadora Duncan. As a ... See full summary »
For over a century, Carnegie Hall rented affordable studio apartments atop the famous music hall to artistic tenants such as Marlon Brando, Paddy Chayefsky and Isadora Duncan. As a privileged tenant, director Josef Birdman Astor began to videotape his neighbors whose lives intersected with decades of artistic history, but his project changed when the landlord served everyone with eviction notices for a conversion to offices. Astor chronicles the protracted battle to save the apartments and pays homage to their rich heritage. Written by
There is a reason that award ceremonies have so many categories for film - there are many people involved in every production. So, its sad to see a film like this, which has such an important message, be crippled by slack direction and bad editing. This is a one hour documentary trapped inside a 1 1/2 hour rambling rant.
The premise of this documentary is that in 1895 Andrew Carnegie built live/work studios above Carnegie Hall to house resident artists. Since that time numerous dancers, musicians, actors, photographers, fashion designers, writers etc. have lived in these unique premises. New York is not a cheap place to live and many of those struggling the most work in the arts.
This film is about the removal of these longtime residents (the longest living resident moved into their studio in 1949) and its heartbreaking to see corporate America destroy the creative class - the people who actually make New York unique. However, this film is not the best medium for the message. It rambles, repeats itself, wallows in self pity, and dithers too much to remain attentive to the people involved. Random interviews with residents regarding a meeting with lawyers or a sidewalk protest are combined with second hand biographies and endless shots of the destruction of the interior of the hall's residences as they are transformed into offices.
As much as I would like to give this film a 10, the film making is substandard.
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