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Radiant City
Radiant City
Directors: Gary Burns, Jim Brown
Genres: Comedy, Drama
UR     2008     1hr 33min

Surrealist filmmaker Gary Burns (Waydowntown, A Problem with Fear) joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the `burbs. Amidst the fresh foundations of monster homes, the two explore the dark side of suburbia and create ...  more »


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Movie Details

Directors: Gary Burns, Jim Brown
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 03/04/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Critical, tender and funny look at suburbia.
Preston C. Enright | Denver, CO United States | 03/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a funny and informative look at life in suburbia.
It's like a mix between The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American D Ream and This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition).
The actors, just regular folk, are simply wonderful.
The film is interspersed with comments from community design scholar James Howard Kunstler who wrote The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape.

The National Film Board of Canada helped in the production of this film. They've been involved in many excellent films, including The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media.
People who are interested in the topics of suburbia, peak oil and human society will also want to check out A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash.
A Reader | USA | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Critical view of suburbia by a filmmaker who grew up there. Interviews with realtors, experts on city planning and architecture, mixed in with footage of the Moss family's daily routines. Never boring and very educational. Basically spells out why things seem so bleak and everyone needs anti-depressants to cope. (HINT: Its not because of a chemical imbalance in the brain, as your body's reaction to your environment is quite natural) Should be mandatory viewing by all. Other documentaries about suburbia I recommend are: The End of Suburbia, Escape from Suburbia, Subdivided, Gimme Green."
Teenage Wasteland -- Long on critique - short on solutions
Kevin Quinley | Fairfax, VA | 11/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Radiant City" is an interesting faux documentary about the ills of suburban living, presumably suffering by comparison with urban existence. It follows the daily life of one family in the Winnipeg area -long commutes, crushing daily routines, a suburban wasteland for kids bicycling around empty streets, pre-teen boys paintballing around half-built houses. I say faux documentary because the family members are "played" by actors..or at least by people not really related to each other. Suburban existence is decried as soul-crushing.

Maybe but ... I don't hear a unanimous chorus of this from the characters portrayed. In free societies, people can choose to live in the city or in the `burbs. Tradeoffs abound; life is like that. No one forces people to move out to the suburbs but harsh economic facts often make urban living financially out of reach. Not to mention (often) poor schools, crime, noise, congestion, etc. The joys of urban living are not altogether idyllic, as often suggested by the young, hip, urban planners and architects who offer cameos in this film.

Some suburbs still cultivate a sense of community, despite their remoteness from downtown areas. It can be done. In my closest "radiant city" (Washington DC), you stand a much better chance of getting mugged or murdered than if you live in the suburbs. That's a tall price for being hip!!

The solution? Forced resettlement of suburbanites to the overpriced environs of downtown? The closest solution offered is the notion of building workplaces and apartments in peoples' front yards, in the 24-feet setbacks that you find in many suburbs. I question how realistic that is. "Radiant City" is an interesting film that provokes contemplation on lifestyle tradeoffs people make and how they can make conscious choices about ordering their lives. It may mythologize excessively the presumed joys of urban dwelling over suburban existence.