Thursday, 23 April 2009
Sunday 17th MAY
3pm at 56a Infoshop
Directed by Ramin Bahrani, 2007. 84 min.
Chop Shop is an intimate story about a brother and sister who live and work in apart of Queens, New York. The duo, Ale and Isamar, barely survive on the margins of a neighborhood that is far removed from middleclass America . Our characters almost never leave this labyrinthine network of garages, mud and highway. Both characters are played by non-professional actors — both of them get to keep their first names for their characters.
The film begins with Ale doing random jobs, but he eventually secures a job at the eponymous chop shop (a car workshop) — his surly yet sympathetic owner allows him to live upstairs, in a room that just about fits a bed, a fridge and a microwave. Ale is so resourceful that he even gets his sister a job at a food stall. They have a shared dream: running a small business out of van; both are saving for this automobile that has become the crux of their redemption. To say money is a recurring motif would be stating the obvious, inbetween the scenes of Ale counting his money there is nothing but work. When there is not work, there is looking to get work. Deferring sentimental reflection neither Ale nor the director, Bahrani, have any time for distraction, there is only survival – live/work – a relentless vision of labouring, hustling bodies.