With vast empathy and spontaneous imagination, the director Khalik Allah revitalises the genre of the observational documentary.
Filmed near the corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, videotaping and interviewing people who hang out there, most of them black, many drug addicted, some homeless.
Allah, doing his own handheld cinematography, presents his subjects in a dreamlike slow motion that turns video into a fluid transfiguration of painted portraiture. He also desynchronises the soundtrack, matching interviews and discussions only approximately to the images.
Allah engages the movie’s participants in tough and insightful discussions about the police, violence, substance abuse, and the inescapable impact of racism. The result is an intimate movie with a metaphysical grandeur, a detailed local inquiry that displays the crushing power of societal forces as well as the passion and vitality of those who endure.