- Running time:
- 80 minutes
- Scott Hamilton Kennedy
- Official Movie Web Site:
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
A look at the political and personal struggles that ensued when 13 acres of land dedicated to Los Angeles' South Central Farm—the largest urban garden in the U.S.—was sold back to its original owner, who planned to evict the low income, mostly Hispanic, gardeners and build a storage facility on the site. The farmers organized and fought back through the courts, eventually drawing media attention and celebrity backers. Their success or failure is a matter of public record, but if you don't know the outcome, just see the movie.
The buzz: A nominee this year for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, "The Garden" is the last of the nominated films to get a proper theatrical release. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at the SilverDocs Documentary Festival, and director Scott Hamilton Kennedy had found acclaim previously for his doc "OT: Our Town" about an inner city high school production of "Our Town."
The verdict: Tight, gripping and unabashedly one-sided, "The Garden" presents a classic story of the little guy taking on The Man with both thrilling and frustrating results. Kennedy either didn't have the access or the interest to explore the establishment's side of the story (the land owner only appears briefly in a videotaped court deposition and an audio only interview excerpt; his lawyer is never interviewed; and a city councilwoman and community organizer are blatantly vilified), but he certainly makes a strong case for how unfairly the citizens who used the garden were treated. Neither passive victims, nor whitewashed saints, they're poor folks who refused to roll over on command. By documenting their story, Kennedy's film also touches on broader issues of racism, political corruption, land rights and organic farming, which helps to give a very specific story universal appeal.
Did you know? Keeping up with the issues and people involved in this battle is as easy as visiting their Twitter page.