Angels of Brooklyn

Angels of Brooklyn

Brooklynští andělé

  • Camilla Hjelm Knudsen, Martin Zandvliet
  • Denmark
  • 2002, 82 min
Photography: Camilla Hjelm Knudsen
Editing: Martin Zandvliet
Sound: Morten Green
Music: Jeppe Kaas
Color: Colour

Three young Puerto Rican women in their late teens live in the projects around Bushwick Avenue in the heart of Brooklyn which is one of the most deprived areas of New York - all three of them are from lower social class. Should it be a tragedy, none of the three women could decide about her destiny in these housing projects.

Life here isn't pleasurable. Large families of immigrants are crammed into small apartment units. Time here is colorless, becoming slowly a habit and here the girls grow and doubt. They persuade themselves they have to wait, but waiting takes time, sometimes a second, sometimes a day, weeks or years.

From their window they see every morning the Williamsburg Bridge, a bridge across which pass daily about hundred thousand people. People cross from one side to another and the girls look from the window, still belonging to the noisy apartments but at the same time speeding away at light speed, imagining their way out and the bridge refrain is coming back in their imagination, it's there to connect the wet and sticky reality of their quarter with the dream about happiness.

Camilla Hjelm Knudsen, a Danish director, studied film in New York and became friendly with the three women in local coffee shop. They drew her interest because they were in search of way out of the poverty fatigue. Nicole, Marlene and Isabel entered the takes of her documentary as cold and warm colors: Nicole's mother is on parole, Isabel has to decide with which man she should bring her baby up and Marlene wants to go back to school and continue with her studies.

The director tells their stories with great respect and affection through everyday events. Her concentrated camera, calm rhythm of narration and lyrical jazzy music create an atmospheric space around the girls and their chaotic lives. The unity of narrator's view is given by continuous and concentrated, nearly obstinate observation of the girls' vitality, arguing with their environment and with themselves as they strike every second to achieve self-fulfillment. Always stopped by elementary needs of life in modern civilization, they are unconsciously walking slowly towards some feeling of balance and happiness, but its image is actually not very clear.

Photo Gallery

TV 2 / Denmark /
Festival edition: 2003
Sections: Without Title
Exhibition format: Digi Beta


The leitmotif of this year’s edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF will be memory