“Camden: Love/Hate” follows six teenagers from Camden, N.J., as they document the story of their city, from the glory days of the postwar boom to today’s violent and fraught reality. After learning filmmaking skills at a last-chance high school, the Camden Center for Youth Development, the teens use their newfound skills to express complex feelings about one of the most dangerous cities in America. Examining Camden from multiple angles — the white residents left behind in the ’60s, the drug tourists, the active community leaders — the film explores both beauty and ugliness in equal measure. The teen filmmakers are revealingly uncensored, exposing both themselves and their city in raw, unmediated conversations. By allowing the seams that stitch the film together to show — including their own roles in guiding and prompting the students — the directors offer a work that’s unflinching in its honesty and highly personal, with the kids’ freeform, unfiltered approach providing an intimate window into their lives and thoughts. By looking through the camera’s lens, the students become aware of both a history they never knew and a future that appears by turns hopeful and bleak.
Film CategoryLeon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television Race in America: The Black Experience
SubjectAddiction African American Family Issues Human Rights Youth
Mean Streets is a program of The Divided City: An Urban Humanities Initiative. With the support of the Mellon Foundation, Washington U.’s Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, is engaged in a four-year initiative called The Divided City, which addresses one of the most persistent and vexing issues in urban studies: segregation.