Chop Shop 

A kid struggles in one of New York City's less-heralded neighborhoods

click to enlarge 02_chop_shop.jpg

Those who enjoyed Ramin Bahrani's Man Push Cart, about a struggling immigrant street vendor in Manhattan, will likely consider this another worthy chapter detailing unseen lives in New York City. Alejandro's world is the dodgy auto-repair yards in Willet's Point, Queens, where the parentless pre-teen hustles odd jobs, sleeps in a garage and dreams of owning his own food van. Bahrani's spare but beautifully shot film is heartbreaking but largely unsentimental. As is little Alejandro, who confronts his tough reality head-on, but with a certain hard-won, fiercely maintained pluck. Now, he has the innate optimism of youth, but like the once-shiny vehicles that pull into his street worn down into beaters, this hopefulness seems likely to fall away. Mon., Jan. 19, through Thu., Jan. 22. Harris


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