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Hot Docs 2014 Review: Slums: Cities Of Tomorrow

Canadian filmmaker Jean-Nicholas Orhon has endeavored to document slums around the world, and while he offers a look into a few communities that are likely misunderstood, Slums: Cities of Tomorrow doesn’t have much to say.

Rather, it has a bunch of things it wants to say, but doesn’t quite get it out.

Traveling to India, France, New Jersey, Quebec, and Turkey, Orhon catalogues the way in which people on what would seem to be fringes live. They are referred to unfairly as slums, because simply it’s difficult to find another fitting word.

The doc doesn’t quite have another term (squatters is used most frequency), nor does is it specifically and forcefully campaign for any particular change.

That is to say, the title suggests this is our future: we’ll all live in overcrowded, underfunded areas. However, instead the tenuous sentiment is that this way of living isn’t so bad. It’s indeed all confusing.

Orhon talks to someone from every neigbourhood. They find purpose, work hard, admit difficulties, but it seems to be that not only do they accept they’ll never actually get help, but they don’t want any.

So some like living in these transient communes. The film then becomes more about how to incorporate these groups into society and provide them necessary resources. At the same time, a casual tangent states that we have limited resources that the global population is wasting. Or maybe it’s just the way of the future, somehow, and we should get on board now.

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Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.