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Beautiful WastelandThe Rise of Detroit As America's Postindustrial Frontier$
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Rebecca J. Kinney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816697564

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816697564.001.0001

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Flickers of the American Dream

Flickers of the American Dream

Filming Possibility in Decline

(p.91) Chapter 4 Flickers of the American Dream
Beautiful Wasteland

Rebecca J. Kinney

University of Minnesota Press

The fourth chapter examines the story of opportunity in the face of hardship in two recent documentary films, Deforce and Detropia. The premise of the documentary film enables the narrative of possibility through the persistent belief of real Detroiters. The chapter turns to the ways in which the myth of the contemporary postindustrial frontier, much like the myth of the historical frontier in American culture, operates not only as a physical place but also as an ideological symbol to suggest the potential of hardworking and determined individuals against all odds. Even as the present is portrayed as bleak, the narrative resolution of Detroit’s uncertain future nearly always falls back on a retrenchment of the American idea of success through individual hard work and determination.

Keywords:   Detroit, Documentary films, Narrative, Postindustrial, American dream, Media, Race, Contemporary

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