Putting into perspective America’s economic divide, “Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream” dramatizes the situation by showing viewers two very different stretches of the famed thoroughfare in New York City.
The richest 1 percent of Americans live on one side, while extreme poverty endures on the other end.
The documentary does a good job of exposing the economic and political realities of the U.S. today. It was directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney. He is among the best working today, and is known for films like “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and “Taxi to the Dark Side.” “Park Avenue: Money, Power & The American Dream,” recently aired on PBS.
Here is the synopsis:
“If income inequality were a sport, the residents of 740 Park Avenue in Manhattan would all be medalists. This address boasts the highest number of billionaires in the United States. Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) presents his examination of how the gap between rich and poor Americans has become so stark, as illustrated by this famous boulevard in New York City.”
When asked why he made the film, Gibney said, “I am furious at the way that we have allowed money to subvert our democracy. I am appalled at the way that the U.S., a very wealthy nation, permits and even encourages a level of poverty that other wealthy nations would not even consider. Last, I am disturbed at the popular acceptance of theories that argue that we should be as selfish as possible and that altruism itself is evil. That’s a perversion of laissez-faire economic theory going back to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.”
You can watch the documentary for free here:
Prior to watching “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History,” I had never heard of the legendary federal low-income housing project that once dominated the landscape of St. Louis.
Images of Pruitt-Igoe’s demolition in the 1970s were broadcast around the world and many considered it a failure of a large government effort to assist the poor. But the depth of the story is much more interesting than that. This film by Chad Freidrichs has interviews with former residents and experts that make it a fascinating look into America’s past, delving into issues of poverty, segregation and a changing economic landscape.
Here is the trailer for “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth,” which can be seen on Neflix Instant or purchased on DVD.