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March 31, 2012

Detroit & Cleveland

Scene from the movie DetropiaOne of the reasons why I wanted to see Detropia at the Cleveland International Film Festival is that what's happening in Detroit seems just a super-sized version of what we have in Cleveland.

The sheer number and size of abandoned homes and buildings in Detroit dwarfs what we have here. Detroit's deterioration has been the focus of so many photo essays that it's given rise to the term ruin porn.

No answers

Detropia shows many facets of life in urban Detroit. We hear from the African-American owner of a thriving blues club in a desolate area, a couple of young Caucasian artists, and an African-American union president.

There are signs of life amidst the decay. Mayor Bing carries out his thankless job with dignity. Residents express their pride, their frustration, and both hope and despair. I was waiting for the filmmakers to tie all the themes together, to wrap things up with a conclusion I could take home. Then the film ended.

As with Detroit, so it is with Cleveland. Lots of problems. Lots of ideas, energy, and good people. Plans, arguments, debates. The outcome? Still unclear

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