CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 8 . . . . December 10, 2004
645 Wellington is an interesting documentary about the inhabitants of a warehouse in a section of Montreal which is fast being taken over by Internet and computer companies. The documentary is filmed over six months and follows the lives of some of the residents of the building. The residents include a hotel doorman who has travelled to every subway station in Montreal and had his picture taken in the photo booths, an actor, a number of artists, and Constanzo "Fartman" Manna who is going to Chile to bring back the love of his life.
One person in the film describes the residents as people who kept the building alive while the economy was down and who are now being kicked out of the building now that the economy is up and the space is worth something again. According to him, basically the owners of the building are saying, "Thank you very much for all your help, but we don't need you anymore, so either pay up or get out." All of the residents who are followed in the film do eventually leave. One resident, the actor, has redone the apartment beautifully, redoing the hardwood floors, painting, installing a kitchen. He has had his rent raised by $500 a month, and, after successfully suing the owners twice, he gives up and leaves because he no longer has the energy to fight.
As the people are forced to leave, the nature of the neighbourhood changes forever. The artists are gone, the blue-collar workers are forced out to the suburbs, and the neighbourhood coffee shops are forced to close. Progress promises a rosy future, but only for those who are able to afford it.
The film has a good musical soundtrack with Latin and rock music. You may not love all of the residents of the building, but the director makes his point very well, and you do become interested in their futures.
Lisa O'Hara is a librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.