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Cinephile Report: Radiant City Directed by Gary Burns and Jim Brown

The creation of the idealistic suburbs has gone from an affordable hope to the horrors of urban sprawl in just a few generations. With a looming energy crisis nipping at the heels of one of the worst trends in the evolution of city planning, the time has come to take a serious look at the big picture - the effect of the ticking time bomb known as the suburban lifestyle.

Directors Gary Burns and Jim Brown, with their new film Radiant City, have succeeded in presenting the most damning exploration of suburban lifestyle that I have ever seen. The film is separated into two distinct streams; one explores the damning evironmental, social and psychological repercussions from the point of view of experts in the field of urban planning and sociology, and the other is a verite documentary of the life of the Ross family living in suburbia.

These elements are pitch perfectly crafted and come together to make the most important and urgent Canadian documentary since The Corporation.

Radiant City uses its interviews and case study, in tandem with some eye catching animations and beautifully choreographed cinematography by Patrick McLaughlin, to draw the viewer in. Never before has the suburbs seemed so cold and ironic on film, which is especially chilling when you realize that for the most part you're seeing it exactly how it is.

We never really know what city we are in, which is a very smart move on the part of the directors. Suburban communities are independent pockets of false security selling their own brands of lifestyle that exist as the very opposite of urban life and the true concept of a city.

There is a huge shift at the end of Radiant City that left me with my mouth flapping open in the wind. It's a move on behalf of the directors that is so fantastically ballsy, post-modern and genius that it serves as a mental knock out punch for the urgent message of the film.

I can't stress enough how much Radiant City is required viewing. If you care about the future of our seemingly blind monoculture, see this film and tell a friend before it's too late. You never know when they'll try and settle down by moving out to the new "Castle Fields" community complex/nightmare nestled nicely next to the freeway and in doing so, go down with a quickly sinking ship.


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