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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
A film by Chad Freidrichs

83 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2011

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It began as a housing marvel. Built in 1956, Pruitt-Igoe was heralded as the model public housing project of the future, "the poor man's penthouse." Two decades later, it ended in rubble - its razing an iconic event that the architectural theorist Charles Jencks famously called "the death of modernism." The footage and images of its implosion have helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth†seeks to set the historical record straight. To examine the interests involved in Pruitt-Igoe's creation. To re-evaluate the rumors and the stigma. To implode the myth.

Watch the Trailer


"Shattering." - The New York Times

"Devastating...an engulfing real-life horror story. Stings with an electric poignancy."
-The New Yorker

"Superb! An uncommonly artful example of cinematic journalism." - Variety

"†Revisits one of our nation's darkest hours and emerges with a scrupulous, revelatory consideration...a heartbreaking alarm call for a society that desperately needs to learn from its worst mistakes." - Time Out New York

"An intelligent meditation on the decline of American cities." - Art Forum

"Captivating and visually compelling." - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Powerful...carries a visceral punch!" - The Economist

"Riveting!" - Village Voice

"A deeply impressive and disturbing exposť." - Film Journal


See details about this film's theatrical run.




Disc Features

●  Bonus Film:†More Than One Thing†(Dir. Steve Carver; 30 min; 1969)
●  Director's Commentary by Chad Freidrichs
●  Additional Interviews
●  Pruitt-Igoe Site Tour

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