Adrean Owens, Mary Dorman, Gene & Doris Capello
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY
"Brick by Brick" Review
It goes without saying that there is a huge difference, in style and substance, between television and film documentaries..."Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story" is a solid television documentary.
In the words of the filmmaker, Bill Kavanagh, the film is essentially about institutionalized segregation in Yonkers, New York. It is a film that intellectually examines the ways in which the public systems that exist in American society continue to promote racial discrimination even as nationwide discrimination laws declare otherwise.
Following the story of three families, "Brick by Brick" follows the case of U.S. vs. Yonkers. The litigation confronted educational and neighborhood discrimination. This discrimination wasn't by individuals, but by the very policies that should have been protecting the residents of Yonkers and guaranteeing their equality.
"Brick by Brick" is very much a traditional television documentary, both in tone and presentation. Filled to the brim with information, Kavanagh focuses more on educating and entertaining and, on this level, "Brick by Brick" certainly succeeds.
Screened as part of the 2008 Indianapolis International Film Festival, "Brick by Brick" felt particularly dissatisfying during a year in which the documentary field was extraordinarily solid.
Still, for those with an interest in civil rights, discrimination and its continued presence in America, "Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story" may prove to be a welcome view. For more information on "Brick by Brick," visit http://www.brick-by-brick.com
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic