March 10, 2009–Icarus Films is proud to announce that MALLS R US, the new documentary feature from award-winning filmmaker Helene Klodawsky, a fascinating examination of North America’s most popular and profitable suburban destination—the enclosed shopping center—will receive its U.S. Premiere screenings as part of the ”Canadian Front 2009” series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Saturday, March 21st, at 6:30 p.m. and on Monday, March 23rd, at 8:30 p.m.
MALLS R US is a spirited, genuinely surprising documentary about the global phenomenon of urban and suburban shopping centers. The filmmakers traveled from North America, where the shopping mall originated, to newer examples in Poland, Japan, India, and Dubai. Along the way they encounter architects, mall developers, sales managers, environmentalists, shoppers, labor and anti-mall activists, “dead mall” bloggers, as well as proponents such as legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, who sees the mall as the modern Main Street of small town America.
Combining nostalgia, dazzling architecture, pop culture, economics and politics, MALLS R US discusses the psychological appeal of malls to consumers, how architects design their environments to combine consumerism with nature and spectacle, how suburban shopping centers impart social values, how malls are transforming the traditional notions of community, social space and human interaction, and shows nostalgic mall fans who commemorate the closing of older malls on their DeadMalls.com Web site.
As entertaining as it is informative,MALLS R USoffers a trip to the mall like no other, reveling in their architectural splendor as consumerist paradises but also showing how the social dynamism they represent can be a destructive force, one that confuses the good life with the world of goods.
Klodawsky is a Montreal-based filmmaker who has been writing and directing social, political and arts documentaries for twenty years. She recently directed the alternative drama Family Motel,which was featured at numerous festivals, including Canadian Front at MoMA in 2008.
Klodawsky’s films have been screened and televised around the world and have received more than twenty-five awards, including honors from the Chicago International Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Mannheim International Film Festival, Hot Docs and the Academy of Canadian Cinema.
MALLS R US reunites her with producer Ina Fichman, who produced Klodawsky’s Undying Love, a 2002 documentary featuring love stories of Holocaust survivors. The film earned widespread acclaim, winning the 2003 Gemini Award for Best Television History Documentary, as well as prizes at the Jerusalem and Columbus International Film Festivals.
Among other award-winning films to her credit, Motherland (1994), a wry assessment of postwar North American motherhood, won top honors on the festival circuit, as have a trio of titles highlighting various aspects of women’s lives—Painted Landscapes of the Times (1986), No Time to Stop (1991) and What If (1999).
Klodawsky has experience working in conflict zones. In 1988, immediately prior to the first Intifada, she spent time in Israel and the Occupied Territories, filming Shoot and Cry, an hour-length exploration of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as seen through the eyes of two young men—an eighteen-year-old Israeli conscript and a Palestinian worker. Following its premiere on Channel Four in the UK, it was televised around the world.
For Family Motel, Klodawsky worked closely with housing activists and representatives of Ottawa’s Somali community. The feature-length alternative drama tells the story of a group of homeless families and refugees who share temporary housing in a suburban motel near Ottawa. The film screened at numerous festivals in North America and abroad, including the Montreal World Film Festival, Whistler, FIPA, and Canadian Front at MoMA.