I Have Always Been a Dreamer | Chicago Reader

I Have Always Been a Dreamer

The first five minutes of this experimental feature are breathtaking: extreme low-angle shots, accompanied on the soundtrack by ambient noise and confessional interviews, depict downtown Detroit as alternately scary, ridiculous, and poignant. The sequence sets the tone for an impressionistic city symphony comparing the city (where filmmaker Sabine Gruffat lived for several years) with the rapidly growing Dubai. The cities are presented as two sides of unsustainable urban growth—Dubai representing overdevelopment and Detroit the void that follows after the bubble bursts (tellingly, the movie's title comes from a Henry Ford quote). Gruffat's narration is rooted in precise sociological observation, and her use of Steadicam, slow motion, and long shots gives the imagery an abstract, even mythic quality. Not all of the visual flourishes work, but the ones that do use big-screen photography more effectively than many Hollywood productions.


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