Serving as an excellent companion piece to his more than riveting documentary The Gods of Times Square, Richard Sandler presents us “Brave New York”, this time turning his camera on the city’s East Village. Sandler gives us footage taken over the last twelve years, exploring the many changes happening in the neighborhood only as a spectator, letting the people on the street do the talking, as well as the streets themselves as they see oppressive law, celebration, corporation and even terrorism.
As in “Gods,” a major part of the charm of this new film is Sandler’s own bravery in going up to anyone on the street, no matter how crazy they may appear, and letting them speak their mind straight into the camera. Anyone can walk the streets of New York and take shots of the locals and their surroundings, but where most people would zoom in, Sandler walks right up and gets the real dirt from these real people. Another part of this film’s charm is Sandler’s camerawork. This isn’t just run and gun filmmaking. It’s very clear that he loves his city and he wants his portrait of it painted as best as it can be, no matter what dirt or grime is in his focus, no matter what horrible truths are being spoken. This is a love letter to his brave neighbors.