talks about the making of Gut Renovation where Freidrich
and partner and roommates lived until almost overnight when the politicians led by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quine destroyed a neighborhood by changing zoning laws. It is a common story in many cities Freidrich lived thought it and film it almost from beginning to the end. A sad human story told in cinematic images that capture the grief of gentrification for those who were living in a community so targeted, A must see for any local activist involves in trying to save a community fron disappearing
My Reel Deal: Movies that Matter review
publish : WestView News March 1st
Gut Renovation dir Su Freidrich
Prize winning experimental and avant-garde film maker Su Friedrich is best known for making art-driven films based on her experience as a girl, daughter, woman, and a lesbian. She seems to be inspired by the story telling technique of shappic savant and award winning film maker Barbara Hammer. Yet her new film is anything but arty. Gut Renovation is a study of the policy of Mayor Bloomberg and City Council under the leadership of Christine Quinn that allows real estate developers to go on a rampage of destroying neighborhoods like in Coney Island, Hunters Point in the Bronx, and parts of Brooklyn in order to let real estate developers build luxury housing. This is just like what happened in Greenwich Village with St. Vincent's Hospital.
Gut Renovation is shot in a traditional documentary format. It is more personal and intimate. Friedrich puts herself front and center as she sees the working class neighborhood she had moved to with her partner, after having to flee SoHo rising rents. The place is Williamsburg where she had moved in 1989. At first she and her fellow working artists were invisible in the manufacturing-heavy, working class family community. However, as she integrated into her community together with her partner, her roommates, and other artists, they became more visible. Things really began to change in 2005 when City Council made a major change in the zoning, opening up the largely manufacturing neighborhood to residents. The changed started almost immediately. Buildings mostly owned by members of the Orthodox Jewish community started to be sold and the businesses they house were forced out. Freidrich has two stories she is documenting. Firstly, the change in the physical neighborhood and secondly, how it was affecting her home, her relationship, her roommates, and her friends and neighbors.
Nothing about Gut could be called "arty;” and yet it is artful. It certainly has the clarity and sensibility of an artist. Freidrich also has a sense of humor which permeates through the reality of the destruction of neighborhood. She began, with her partner, mapping the zone boundaries and labeling the buildings and whorehouses around her as they were sold, cleared of tenants and renovated, When she got to 173 ... yes, 173 buildings, she knew it was time to move as she would not be able to afford the new building. A sad story rooted in politicians’ insensitivity to what makes a community and how greed ruins almost everything. Sad, yes, but necessary viewing if you want to fight NYU or know we need a full service hospital back in the Community.