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Charm City (2019)Charm City (2019)

Director and producer Marilyn Ness took her camera to the streets of Baltimore for three years to document the brave citizens there who are fighting back against the trauma they all experience in the Charm City. Blighted neighborhoods with boarded up houses (30,000 vacant properties). Violent drug trade. Gangs. A murder rate that was approaching the highest ever in the history of the city. Unemployment as high as 50% for black men. And a deep distrust of the police due to corruption and brutality. Ness focuses on six citizens who are making a difference, and without any narration lets them tell their own stories.  Chief among these is Clayton Guyton, who started the Rose Street Community Center in 1998. Alex Long works for Guyton with his trash collection, gang mediation and his own brand of de-escalation training. Then there are three police officers, two black and one white: Monique Brown, Eric Winston, and John Gregorio. Finally, there is Brandon Scott, the youngest person to be elected to the city council. During the three years of this film there were 1029 homicides in Baltimore. But that has not deterred the dedication of these inspirational difference makers. I watched this "Independent Lens" film from the PBS website.

Dan Clendenin:

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