In the tradition of neorealist films like Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief comes an American film (in Spanish) about Latin-American immigrants living in New York City. La Ciudad, which was screened in the American Spectrum series at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, was directed by David Riker, who spent five years researching the project and working with the non-professional actors in the film to capture the impoverished authenticity of life on the streets in New York's Latino community. All four stories concern the lives of poor, working-class people. In the four segments, a young bricklayer is killed when a wall collapses on him; two teenagers fall in love at a Sweet 15 party, only to lose each other in a housing project; a homeless man cannot enroll his daughter in school because he lacks proof of residency; and a seamstress in a sweatshop cannot pay for her daughter's medical treatments. The stories have tragic endings, reflecting the harsh realities of life in the ghettos of New York. ~ Arthur Borman, Rovi
This is a deeply moving film, work of art that resonates with compassion dealing with the hard life experienced by Latino immigrants in NYC. The brilliant black and white neo-realistic photography was obviously inspired by greats like Gabriel Figeuroa and Greg Tolan. While the stories are tragic, this film is one of the best art films that I've seen since El Norte. It's a sad statement on our times that films like this are not seen by wider audiences, as we are bombarded by Hollywood's moronic "mindless entertainment" backed by millions of dolars in advertising, turning our youth into comic book zombies, so hats off to Blockbuster for making this film available. I will recommend it everywhere I go. Stunning acheivement! Congrats to the passionate filmmakers, and New Yorker Films whose films always shine.