The Pruitt-Igoe Myth Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: It began as a housing marvel. Built in 1956, Pruitt-Igoe was heralded as the model public housing project of the future, "the poor man's penthouse." Two decades later, it ended in rubble - its razing an iconic event that the architectural theorist Charles Jencks famously called the death of modernism. The footage and images of its implosion have helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth seeks to set the historical record straight. To examine the interests involved in Pruitt-Igoe's creation. To re-evaluate the rumors and the stigma. To implode the myth. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Rachel Saltz
    Feb 7, 2012
    This history is too recent to seem dry, and the film gets an added emotional punch from interviews with former tenants, whose memories mix fondness with anger and loss.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Feb 7, 2012
    Armed with archival footage and wrenching interviews, filmmaker Chad Freidrichs revisits one of our nation's darkest hours - and emerges with a scrupulous, revelatory consideration of the varied factors that turned a worthy plan into a horrific, state-sanctioned nightmare for a generation of working-class African-Americans.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Feb 7, 2012
    Detailing the birth, life and death of America's first major urban housing project in St. Louis, Chad Freidrichs' The Pruitt-Igoe Myth combines concise but thoroughgoing sociological-historical analysis and elegant cinematic resources in service of an uncommonly artful example of film journalism.
  4. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Feb 7, 2012
    The film ends on a note of courage, and a call-to-action that we "remember," naturally, but we can't completely buy it: What Freidrichs has accomplished is a portrait of unknowability.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Apr 26, 2012
    A well-researched and iconoclastic documentary that is both thoughtful and troubling, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is indeed a cautionary tale, but what it cautions against is the lure of easy judgments derived from prejudices and ignorance of the facts.
  6. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Feb 7, 2012
    What gives the film its human dimension are the conflicting memories of former residents.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Apr 5, 2012
    Under a different set of circumstances - in a different society - the development might have flourished. But The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is a documentary, not fantasy.

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