Detroit once embodied the optimism and dynamic quality inherent in the American Dream, whereas the present state of affairs in what used to be the fourth largest US city is devastating: one in five houses stands vacant, the jobless rate has reached 30 percent, almost half the children subsist below the poverty line. In REQUIEM FOR DETROIT? one of the locals likens the disastrous development of the city in recent years to a man-made Hurricane Katrina in slow motion. However, director Julien Temple has made a deliberate choice to put a question mark in the title of his documentary film. In the midst of the city’s ruins, he finds hope: on urban wasteland, which amounts to almost a third of the city, the locals now grow fruits and vegetables, and artists use derelict structures for their activities. Might Detroit become a test lab of sorts for a post-industrial future? In any case, the dilapidated industrial ruins give Temple’s film visually stunning locations.
Requiem for Detroit?
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Selected filmography Julien Temple
THE GREAT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SWINDLE (1980), ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (1986), BULLET (1996), VIGO (1998), PANDAEMONIUM (2000), GLASTONBURY (2006), THE ETERNITY MAN (2008), Music Videos for Whitney Houston, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Janet Jackson, Blur, David Bowie, Van Halen