RIVER & OAK, 13min, Canada
Directed by James Malekzadeh
As Toronto’s Regent Park Housing project is demolished and rebuilt for the second time in its history, two women reflect on the complicated past of their neighbourhood. Through archival footage, the past is brought to the present and the audience is left to decide whether the current revitalization is the best solution for the residents of this often overlooked community.
Review by Kierston Drier:
This Canadian gem, directed by James Malekzadeh, speaks closely to anyone who has ever been affected by urban sprawl. River and Oak follows the lives of a handful of honest, hard working humans who lived and loved Regent Park before the area’s housing project was demolished to make way for upscale (and highly priced) replacement housing.
The interwoven stories of two women show their connection to the place and the people, now pushed out of their historical homes.
Gentrification is a hot topic anywhere that housing is at a premium. While it may boost economy and local real estate, the human displacement is another issue. A population linked to the city by employment, family or any other necessity must remain in the area but where do they go?
River and Oak can not give us an answer to that question. All it can give us is a human look at real people who remind us that your postal code does not reflect the content of your character.
Passionate, strong and hitting-close-to-home, River and Oak reminds us what it means to be neighbours and what forgetting that can cost.
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