My Brooklyn opens with a lifelong resident of the eponymous borough gushing over his youth in the '70s: drinking water from fire hydrants, swimming in Prospect Park. These days, we're told, are long gone-- lost to gentrification. Filmmaker/narrator Kelly Anderson approaches her documentary from the perspective of a dual insider-outsider, a white woman who appears to have undertaken the project as a means of better understanding the adopted home she clearly loves. As a paean to the sort of vibrant, quickly disappearing community that Brooklyn represents less now than it did in the past, her film works well; as a genuine study, it sometimes falls short. Hard evidence and talking-head testimony are presented alongside anecdotal stories from passersby and Internet commenters, with the latter working better as embellishments than as the driving force of argument. Still, she's ultimately persuasive in making the case that gentrification was, is, and continues to be even more racially motivated and systematic than conventional wisdom suggests. Focusing on the Bloomberg administration's redevelopment of the Fulton Mall area in the mid-2000s allows Anderson to weave in a people's history of similar goings-on in the past, not all of them New York centric.
Kelly AndersonAllison Lirish DeanKelly Anderson, Allison Lirish Dean