Several residents of a small Southern city whose lives are changed by the arrival of a stranger with a controversial plan to save their decaying hometown. In the midst of today's challenging times, each of the colorful citizens of this close-knit North Carolina community, will search for ways to reinvent themselves, their relationships and the very heart of their neighborhood.Written by
The black-and-white shots that appear in the opening minute were made in Durham, N.C., in the late 1930s by H. Lee Waters (1902-1997), an itinerant photographer from Lexington, N.C. During the later years of the Great Depression, Waters earned money by visiting more than one hundred towns in North Carolina and surrounding states and shooting 16mm film of everyday scenes and people. He would arrange to exhibit his films in a local theater where the movies were shot. In an era when movie camera ownership was rare, and long before home video cameras became common, people would flock to the theaters to see themselves and their neighbors in moving pictures. Many of Waters's films have been collected and archived in North and South Carolina. One of his films, made in Kannapolis, N.C. in 1941, was added to the National Film Registry in 2005. Other samples of his work can be seen in "The Cameraman Has Visited Our Town" on folkstreams.net. See more »
While Mary and her mother are talking in her bedroom, her mother's hair changes position - alternately behind and in front of her ear. See more »
This city like many in America, has come to a rough moment in its history. A city after all is just a collection of houses and buildings, hopes and dreams that depend on the fortune and determination and fate of its residents. The future, uncertain at best can be fearful or full of promise. It's all in how you see it..."
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At first glance, MAIN ST. would seem to have all the ingredients for an absorbing piece - a top-notch cast (with two Brits doing very creditable Southern accents), a strong sense of place (Raleigh, North Carolina), and a taut, spare script by veteran Horton Foote. Then why is the movie such a disappointment? Its subject-matter is a pertinent one: the decline of American urban life and the schemes hatched by entrepreneurs to regenerate it, which might not necessarily please the existing residents. However the production is particularly slow-moving: the camera spends a long time focusing on tight close-ups of the protagonists, especially Ellen Burstyn as Georgiana Carr. This would be a perfectly acceptable strategy, were it not for the consciously showy nature of the performances: the actors are allowed to get away with the kind of theatrical gestures and facial movements that would not seem out of place in Victorian melodrama. As a result, we end up not really caring about the characters at all. Matters are not helped by the treacly soundtrack (from the normally reliable Patrick Doyle) that obtrudes itself on several occasions. Perhaps the material might have been better if another director had handled it.
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