Hoover Street Revival

Hoover Street Revival


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

Whenever you watch a documentary on TV, the one thing that carries you through is the narration, a person telling you what is going on. In a foreign environment things happen and without clear explanation you can get lost very quickly. And being lost in South Central LA is not a good thing. Did you see Menace II Society?

The camera crew seems to go anywhere and shoot anything that looks even the slightest bit interesting. For them at least. Us? We sit there taking it all in, but not having a clue. Most of the time the people won't even talk to the camera. Sometimes they talk to someone else.

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The basic story is of an over-the-top black preacher who gives faith to a community so oppressed by racial division and gang violence. Unfortunately, he is not the entertaining evangelist type found in the Southern states. He cries out his love for the Lord and stops every fifth word to suck in his saliva and breath. Behind the scenes, he says nothing. Does he have a personality? Is it all for show? Does he keep the profits for himself, or give them to charity?

What is even worse is that many scenes are filmed with a strobe effect that is garish and hard to look at. When shot with a DV camera, this is inexcusable. Obviously, they are trying to add flare to an uninteresting scene. How about cutting out all the fat and super-extended remixes from the gospel songs - they last an eternity. Even the Titanic had the dignity to sink in two hours. I swear there must have been a zillion helicopter shots of the ghetto that lasted a couple of minutes each.

There is simply no audience for this film. The fact that more than half left during the screening only proves the point. I stuck it out to the end because I believe that any film can improve, even a little bit. I guess I set myself up for disappointment.

Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2002
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The goings-on within the 'hood of South Central LA and their all-black gospel church.
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Director: Sophie Fiennes

Starring: Bishop Noel Jones

Year: 2002

Runtime: 101 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2002

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