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Reviewing the Reviews of the Detropia Debut at Sundance

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Detropia, the Detroit documentary that was debuting to some pretty serious buzz at the Sundance film festival last Saturday, is beginning it's trip through the reviews. At first glance? It's a B! Says Indiewire: The doc's topical slant means it should play well at various festivals and community-based screenings, but is less likely to receive much of a theatrical release; instead, it's readymade for a home on television, possibly with HBO or PBS. HBO play would be pretty rad none-the-less, not that we've seen this thing. So far, the official site does not have a Detroit premier listed.

From what we can infer from Indiewire, it won't be the most even-handed look at the positive and negative elements of Detroit, but it will be comprehensive.

From the mournful opener until the closing montage, "DETROPIA" successfully generates a distinct sense of place. Ewing and Grady seem to cover every inch of the city, from the cavernous opera house to drab office interiors and graffiti-covered alleyways. They focus less on a specific group of characters than on a combination of angry voices whose rants slowly blend together.

Rachel Grady, half of the female filmmaker team, told Interview:We went to Detroit looking for a phoenix-from-the-ashes story; I wanted to tell that story, everyone wants to tell that story, but the film that we made isn't really that because that's not the story that our characters are interested in telling. You have to be flexible to a changing narrative, even if that makes you feel bad.

So we're anxious to see the film for a long list of reasons but here is one for starters; we need to find out which coffee shop they shot in. There's supposed to be a scene where a couple of Swiss tourists tell a barista that they admire the town's decay. "That's sort of insulting," the barista says with a concessionary tone. Speaking of eye rolls, this was the opening clip from the Interview article:


EMMA BROWN: Hi! I just saw Detropia.
RACHEL GRADY: You saw it? Oh cool! What did you think? We just finished it.
BROWN: It was heartbreaking.

GRADY: Yeah, it's very sad, but I hope that the characters leave some hope with you, because they do with me. They're so strong. · What Rachel Grady Found in Detroit [Interview]
· SUNDANCE REVIEW: With a Collage of Grim Visuals, "DETROPIA" Explains Detroit's Financial Woes [IndieWire]
· Detropia [loki films]