The Area


Roxie Theatre Sun, Feb 10, 2019 12:30 PM
Film Info
Director:David Schalliol
Film Category:Documentary
Running Time:93 min
Year of Release:2018


An eye-opening saga of resistance in a South Side Chicago neighborhood, where more than 400 African-American families are being displaced by a multi-billion dollar railroad company. The Area follows a homeowner-turned-activist, Deborah Payne, who puts off her plans to move; instead, she digs in to become an ad hoc community organizer and be "the last house standing."

The Area begins in 2012, when predictable Chicago city officials frame a narrative of economic revitalization and “urban blight.”  The railroad company has already bought out over half the area’s residents and is picking off the holdouts. As Deborah Payne's neighbors jump ship and houses are pulled down, property values implode. Valiant and stubborn, Payne fights for fair-value buyouts and respect for those who remain. Aided by an exquisite, pitch-perfect score from electronic-music artist Phoelix, director David Schalliol brings a sensitive ear and a fine documentary aesthetic to this all-too-typical urban tale. -CM