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Los Angeles Film Festival 2011 Preview - "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth"

by Cynthia Reid
June 1, 2011 3:22 AM
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The Los Angeles Film Festival begins next week (Jun 16-26) and a few films we've posted here on S&A--Crime After Crime, Family Portrait In Black And White and Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest--will be screening. In addition, a documentary analyzing the urban housing industry titled The Pruitt-Igoe Myth will screen next weekend.

The film, directed by Chad Freidrichs, tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.


At the film’s historical center is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the process of mass suburbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses, and industries.

Those left behind in the city faced a destitute, rapidly de-industrializing St. Louis , parceled out to downtown interests and increasingly segregated by class and race.

The residents of Pruitt-Igoe were among the hardest hit. Their gripping stories of survival, adaptation, and success are at the emotional heart of the film. The domestic turmoil wrought by punitive public welfare policies; the frustrating interactions with a paternalistic and cash-strapped Housing Authority; and the downward spiral of vacancy, vandalism and crime led to resident protest and action during the 1969 Rent Strike, the first in the history of public housing.

And yet, despite this complex history, Pruitt-Igoe has often been stereotyped. The world-famous image of its implosion has helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth seeks to set the historical record straight. To examine the interests involved in Pruitt-Igoe’s creation. To re-evaluate the rumors and the stigma. To implode the myth.

For schedule and ticket info, please go HERE.

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  • L | June 2, 2011 1:38 AMReply

    This played last month at the Atlanta Film Festival & I really wanted to see it. So sad I missed it

  • Lynn | June 1, 2011 10:28 AMReply

    Wow! It looks really interesting i like documentaries that portray defining moments in American history.

  • A Bombastic Element | June 1, 2011 9:35 AMReply

    Sweet. Thanks for this.

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