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From the Willamette Week website:

PENNY ALLEN

"Portland filmmaker made her directing debut in 1977 with Property, a docudrama about a neighborhood's battle against gentrification, followed in 1982 by Paydirt, an action film about three Oregon winemakers who resort to growing pot to pay the bills. Allen is now a free-lance writer living in Paris, where she recently discovered the long-forgotten grave site of early Portland feminist and John Reed protegée Louise Bryant."

I saw Property years ago at a New York film festival and have thought about it (off and on) ever since. As I recall, it's not really about a "neighborhood's battle against gentrification" but rather the efforts of a group of Portland bohemians to buy a block of Victorian houses where they've been living in semi-communal squalor. It's kind of an elegy for the '60s, depicting a moment when "hippie chicks" were turning to hooking rather "selling out," men were connecting with the drug underworld (and prison) for the same reason, and no one had any idea the Reagan era was right around the corner. It's not really a documentary, but it feels so real it might as well be. I found it incredibly wistful and romantic.

In retrospect, the movie was notable for launching the career of cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards, who has contributed his unmistakable handheld-verite style to a magnificent run of films, including My Own Private Idaho, To Die for, Kids, and Flirting with Disaster. It was also the first film of "little person" Cork Hubbert, who gave a standout performance and has since had a long and varied resumé (Where the Buffalo Roam, Legend, and countless TV roles). I don't think Property ever made it to videotape; there's probably a slim chance it'll be seen again. That's a shame: the film's time, place, and outsider point of view were unique, and in their own modest way, indispensable.
- tom moody 1-11-2002 1:10 am [link] [9 comments]