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Belcourt - Nashville's Nonprofit Cinema

RAT FILM

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RAT FILM

Part of Doctober.

Rats, the most under-loved rodents on the planet, live in the shadows, mostly confined to cages, sewers and trash cans. What does the ghettoization of rats tell us about our own species? In his feature-film debut, director Theo Anthony creates a sweeping map of Baltimore through this denigrated animal. An eerie, futuristic narrator guides you on your journey through the streets of the city, stopping in an alley where rats are baited with peanut-butter-wrapped lunch meat and inside a 3D simulation of the life of a caged pet. Each sharp scene coalesces into a precise, poetic portrait: a dystopian underworld of rats intersecting with a human environment determined to control these furry varmints, affecting every other living being within the city limits. (Synopsis from the True/False Film Festival)


"It’s one of the most imaginative and provocative documentaries on any topic I’ve seen this year.” —Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

NYT Critic's Pick: “… A brilliantly imaginative and formally experimental essay on how Baltimore has dealt with its rat problem and manipulated its black population.” —Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times  

“Anthony's blend of well-researched scientific and historical background with deep existential questioning recalls Werner Herzog's best work, presenting a fresh take on a centuries-old subject with poetry and urgency.” —Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader

“RAT FILM looks critically at the city’s meagre efforts to combat rat infestation and the effect on the city’s residents (mainly black residents). But Anthony does more: building upon his investigation into the historical crimes of segregation and contempt for the city’s black residents, he turns a concluding sequence of civic pride and good cheer into a brilliantly light-hearted fantasy of grave import, a radical political utopia conjured with a deft artistic flourish. It’s one of the most extraordinary, visionary inspirations in the recent cinema.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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