Analysis Of The Film Gentrification And Definitions Of Home In The Rolling Mill

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Gentrification and Definitions of Home in the Rolling Mill

The Rolling Mill is a complex examination of gentrification in a small neighborhood in Cumberland, Maryland.

The film opens with a voiceover discussing the emotional baggage involved with selling a long-occupied home. Various shots of the featured community follow, beginning with the freeway leading to it and the individual houses as well as aerial shots of the neighborhood as a whole. Another voiceover explains that the government has opted to bulldoze the entire neighborhood to make way for a strip mall and some chain restaurants. Next comes a series of interviews with people on both sides of the argument—resistors to the change, the developers, residents who sold their homes, …show more content…

The film opens with shots of the freeway, establishing the neighborhood in geographical space and allowing the audience to approach it as a resident would. Aerial shots are used to great effect. On the one hand, it shows the neighborhood's rundown state as well as many of the gaps left by homes that have already been destroyed. The negative space creates a tangible absence which evokes the loss felt by the residents who have chosen to stay; however, it also highlights that the residents are hanging on to something that is virtually gone and perhaps better let go. Simultaneously, the aerial shots capture something aesthetically beautiful within the rundown neighborhood. The audience is literally able to see both sides of the argument competing in one frame. The scenes within the Rolling Mill's church are also quite striking—they highlight the community that has formed within the neighborhood that is being threatened. They have a different kind of community that isn't valued by the mainstream forces of gentrification. The film also lingers within many residents' homes, often cutting to close ups of various keepsakes within the houses. The shots demonstrate the lives that the residents have created for themselves—it is not just the physical structures of their homes that are being challenged but for many of them it is feels like the very infrastructure of their

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