Screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2011
Looking at the opening images from the feature documentary Detroit Wild City, the Motor City look more like something made like Mad Max film or as one of the Detroit locals mentioned in the film that the Motor City resembles Dresden after the war.
Despite the negatives that the film focuses on – blight, crime, decay, French director Florent Tillon offers some alternative philosophies and ideas that may be surprising in the sustainability of the decaying city.
The French point of view from Tillon highlights how numerous citizens have started growing victory gardens in the midst of all the decay. The fact that Detroit used to be farm land before an auto city may come full circle (to a point) with abandoned lots being turned into local farms.
Detroit Wild City also makes a point to show how native falcons and other birds have returned to the city using deserted skyscrapers as artificial cliffs and nesting grounds.
Tillon uses arresting images to make his point while limiting interviews and dialogue to a sparse number of lower and working class Detroitians. Although it might have been interesting to get some point of view from local business people, Tillon obviously wished to keep the focus on the hard core locals who remain.
Detroit Wild City offers some hope but leaves many questions unanswered. People may have different takeaways from this striking travelogue but it does bring awareness to a supposedly dead city on the the mend.