Critic’s Corner

By Maria Di Mento '03 / July / August 2003
June 22nd, 2007

“This is not another exploitative ghetto flick about guns, drugs, crooked cops, and gangbangers, but a tightly knit, street-smart, funny, and poignant human drama—one that’s always a match-strike away from flashpoint,” the New York Daily News proclaimed of Washington Heights, written by Nat Moss ’87 and director Alfredo De Villa. The movie focuses on Carlos, a Latino comic-book artist whose life changes after his father is paralyzed in a holdup of the family’s bodega. After just a week of rehearsal the film was shot in the neighborhood in eighteen days. “It puts to shame Hollywood’s higher-profile but hackneyed efforts at reflecting Hispanic life in the United States,” wrote Rene Rodriguez in the Miami Herald. Moss and De Villa attended Columbia’s graduate film school and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab together, then spent two years on the script with the help of actor Manny Perez and author Junot Díaz. New York Newsday’s John Anderson called the film a “Portrait of an artist as a young hombre,” adding, “It’s less an acculturation tale than an emphatic declaration of ‘We are here.’ ”

—Maria Di Mento ’03

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July / August 2003