21 Alleys

Director: Robert Todd

Wednesday Mar 22nd

  • 16mm
  • USA
  • 2007
  • 8:00

Part three of five in a series entitled “Invisible River,” Todd’s film elaborates his study of urban spaces in transition. He empathetically peers in on an established Boston community caught in the push and pull of gentrified development. Testimonials provide ambient histories while we survey the neighborhood in a most intimate way: through fences, into backyards, from a passing car. Todd punctuatesthe geography of image with an over-current of domestic noises furnishing ourpresence and participation in the streets and back alleys. A siren blares across two shots fusing them as our topographic markers; we locate and embed ourselves inthe streets, and in the histories personifying each character home. BrooksideAvenue is all of our neighborhoods, lively with families and homes passed downt hrough generations. It is our side streets and parks under siege from indifferent developers and dispassionate business folk. It is in these spaces that we find a quiet familiarity and resonance; we find what we call “home.”

21 Alleys first appeared in the $100 Film Festival in 2008 when Todd’s “Invisible River” series was in full swing. A full and intimate study of urban spaces submittedto the pressures of development and disconnect, it is a refined geographical cinemathat showcases the very palpable and sculptural form film can take. A specialist in16mm film, Todd is a prolific visual essayist committed to a compassionate investigation into the pressures of edification on civility and natural space. “Invisible River” is a poignant five part series that correlates various facets of urban development in and around his Boston home and its aesthetic.

- Felicia Glatz