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LAist Movie Review: The Garden

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The once-thriving South Central collective garden. Photo courtesy Black Valley Films.

Tucked secretly away amongst residential condos and too-snug street parking sits The Schindler House, a small artistic enclave that is part of the larger Mak Center. The unobtrusive works of modern beauty blend seamlessly with the grass and garden that occupy a worthy portion of the smallish plot. And perhaps it is here, on the oblong lawn as the sun sets over consistently progressive West Hollywood, that films like The Garden truly deserve to be screened.

Produced and directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, The Garden is a documentary four years in the making, although the story is still being written today. It is raw footage of the best and worst that mankind, and our own little Angelic corner, has to offer. There are heroes and villains, there are the concerned and the outraged, there are those who have been left behind, and those who - in the face of adversity - simply never ran. But ultimately, it is the simple story about the life cycle of a single garden.

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This garden, as it happens, is both the largest in America that is collectively owned, and undoubtedly one of the most contentious; it is the South Central garden. Totaling 14 acres of real estate sitting only a few blocks and several tax brackets away from downtown Los Angeles, the garden has long since cultivated its own sense of skepticism and lore. Love it or hate it, and there are plenty who have done both, the South Central garden found away to force people together, so that they may overcome. And thankfully Kennedy’s The Garden has masterfully, wonderfully, unashamedly gotten it all on film.