Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans

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Time Out says

Thu May 1 2008

*** (Three stars)
Directors Dawn Logsdon and Lolis Eric Elie say, in a publicity statement for their Tribeca doc, that character-driven documentaries are “all the rage.” They go on to explain how, contrary to this trend, they've downplayed the personal drama of their often intriguing subjects in an attempt to make New Orleans itself the dominant personality in their work. However, their resulting piece only serves to confirm the majority opinion—that the best documentaries are anchored by memorable characters. Among the strong personal stories that could have been elaborated on is that of 75-year-old carpenter and home-restoration expert Irving Trevigne, who comes from the old New Orleans family that founded the Times-Picayune newspaper. The movie does succeed in uncovering interesting bits of history about the city it casts as protagonist. Did you know that slaves were capable of earning money and buying their freedom in New Orleans, or that its African-American activists were staging defiant sit-downs on public transportation almost a century before Rosa Parks? The film tries to draw parallels between these civil-rights battles and the civic activism following Hurricane Katrina, but the connection feels tenuous at best. Instead, we simply feel sad about the destruction of a community with such great history.—Daniel Lehrhaupt, online intern

[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.]

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Dawn Logsdon

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