Detroit Wild City | Chicago Reader

Detroit Wild City

French filmmaker Florent Tillon calls RoboCop one of his favorite movies, but his 2010 documentary owes little to Paul Verhoeven's 1987 Motor City dystopia. In place of gunfire and anomie, this ruminative video essay spotlights rebirth among the ruins. Below the elevated train in abandoned downtown Detroit, a young explorer acts as tour guide along blocks of architectural skeletons, rummaging through the artifacts left behind when businesses fled. With fewer people and cars, space for animals and agriculture has returned: urban farmers reclaim large patches of empty land, and a pheasant, goats—even a horse—find homes in backyards. How long this new Eden will last is anyone's guess, but judging by the ranks of the creative class flocking to his nightclub, owner Larry Mongo suspects that gentrification is not far away.


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