Instead of depressing and overbearing, however, the film intimately invites you into the lives of a few specific people that have learned how to live in this overlooked enclave. One character, Julia, is homeless and dances every time she hears music, even jokingly poking her butt up to a friend while dancing to the Spanish music in the background. Intertwined with the music is the semi-political message of a community being deprived of basic elements such as a sewer system and sidewalks. Rather than an overtly political film, Foreign Parts tells of the conditions where a community, mostly made of Hispanic immigrants, lives and gains solidarity. “There’s water, mud every day… I don’t mind it though,” says the Julia the dancer. “This is my people.”
Through these stories the directors, Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki, clearly form a relationship with the people in the community. The directors’ voices can be heard in certain emotional scenes as they congratulate and console characters, even dancing with them on Julia’s birthday. This kind of intimacy is unmistakable even through the camera’s angles. It intricately moves with Julia dancing in circles and around her birthday cake as it’s being cut. What brings the film together and defines most every scene is sound. As it opens to a dark screen, your eyes widen, searching for some kind of image. It’s not there yet though. The sounds of machines picking up and tossing old vehicles, of junkyard machines and of vibrant music all encompass the first five minutes and weaves in and out throughout the film.
Were the directors suggesting that many of these immigrants are simply parts of the bigger NY agenda, to be tossed at the possible demolition of this community? That one’s for you to decide. These people do have a surreal outlook and suspicion for a system that seems to overlook their very existence, but they dance anyway. They are the stories from the junkyard, and they sound hopeful, desperate, lovable and strong as hell.
Vox Rating: VVVV
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