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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Quinceanera" and Echo Park 

We went to see the movie Quineanera this afternoon while it was too hot to do anything else.

It's a great indy flick. Short and shot on video, but what it lacks in budget it more than makes up for in story. There are shortcomings -- don't get me wrong. But overall it's a sweet little film that takes on some heavy subjects with honesty and clarity.

One of the subjects is the "gentrification" of "inner-city" neighborhoods. Affluent and mostly white (let's face it -- the movie does, to its credit) move back into city-centers and change the fabric of neighborhoods basically abandoned by the white and affluent of the 2 or so generations before them.

Austinites know the process well. Just drive around the Eastside between Manor and MLK to see what it's like at it's inception, and the Eastside between Manor and 38th to see how it ends.

Well, Quinceanera takes place in another neighborhood in the process of gentrification. My new neighborhood of Echo Park in L.A.

It's shot and set in Echo Park and does a careful and, as far as my experience so far goes, accurate job of portraying the area. But the neighborhood is more than a setting for the movie, it's a character. It acts and reacts with the other characters to drive the story, and that is what makes the movie special.

Check it out.

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