Boom: The Sound of Eviction
A Whispered Media production.
Directed by Francine Cavanaugh, A. Mark Liiv, Adams Wood.
The dot-com craze is just part -- albeit a large part -- of the complex canvas here, as developers, politicos, landlords and others rushed to take advantage of S.F.'s prominent emerging status for Internet-based businesses. Traditionally culture rich but land starved, the City by the Bay accommodated its money-waving newcomers by tightening zoning law loopholes and allowing the wholesale eviction of many poor/ethnic families, mom & pop shops, social service facilities, arts organizations, not-for-profits, etc.
Bitterness over this "digital divide" was exacerbated by Mayor Willie Brown's cavalier attitude: At one point here he's heard dismissing protesters from the gentrification-choked, decreasing-ly Latino-populated Mission District as "not representative" of their own communities.
When the dot-com bubble burst, party time was over for its beneficiaries -- but the previous residents had long since been forced to leave their homes, in some worst-scenario cases ending up homeless. Ultimately this "New Economy" story was ye olde familiar one: The rich got richer, the poor got poorer.
Partisan yet evenhanded docu casts a wide net, weaving individual stories into the tangled sweep of commingled real estate, activist and public policy conflicts.
Excerpted archival travelogue pitches provide an ironic counterpoint to this portrait of a city's soul being sold off. While amount of information and its chronology may sometimes confuse viewers not familiar with Bay Area politics, "Boom" still makes a powerful cautionary statement. Fast-paced package is well turned on tech levels.
Camera (color, video), Cavanaugh, Liiv, Taylor, Wood; editors, Cavanaugh, Liiv, Wood; sound, Alex Theory. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Dec. 14, 2001. Running time: 97 MIN.