Opening 12 Mar 2020
Following behind listening to Matt Green’s steady commentary while traversing busy city sidewalks, the only means for identifying where he/we are is superimposed onscreen in the lower third area. Matt describes when/why he began walking, being homeless by choice and how he puts a roof over his head. Living on fifteen dollars a day, he gives pointers about curtailing expenses. A few other walkers are introduced; one, a professor, walked the city blocks while teaching. Also, samplings of Matt’s encounters with residents are shown, and audiences learn some interesting and/or historical facts. Most impressive? The tallest (Tulip) tree in the city is unobtrusively nestled in uncultivated land General George Washington once surely passed. For orientation, an overhead computer 2-3D graphic of New York City is regularly referred to, realistically giving audiences their best (quick) view of the sprawling city’s five boroughs.
Director-production-camera-editor Jeremy Workman takes two detours: to 2010, when Matt walked from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway, Oregon, and to Ashland, Virginia where his parents and brother add their two-cents. So do an ex-fiancé and ex-girlfriend. Workman accumulated over 500 hours of footage during a three-year period trailing along with Matt, yet a great deal of film time is on Stanton Island, leaving many neighborhoods unexplored (for audiences). Not chronologically laid out, the editing’s pace fluctuates between tedium, or moving too fast, e.g., but a glimpse of Andrew Johnson’s (U.S. president following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and impeached) tombstone in lower Manhattan’s New Amsterdam district is shown. Some sequences provide relief, e.g., Matt’s pet charges, and of his snapshots. Music by Carly Comando and Tom Rosenthal is good, moderately used.
Matt’s still walking and talking when we finally pull away. The German distributor’s title choice, New York – Die Welt vor deinen Füssen cannot deliver what is not there; a realistic connotation is sans the “New York.” Just as (and not lost on audiences), the irony of Matt telling people he “doesn’t think there’s any commercial use” when asked why he is walking. German subtitles, 95 minutes (Marinell Haegelin)