Review of Brooklyn Boheme


The notorious and influential streets of Brooklyn have garnered the footsteps of many great writers, musicians, comedians, actors, and artists alike. Over the years, it has seen time take its streets through civil rights, revolution, and artistic expression. As of late, Brooklyn is handing its fate over to its newcomers with the hope that the kindling laid down by people like Nelson George, Carl Hancock Rux, Chris Rock, Spike Lee and many more will continue to keep Brooklyn’s vigor and passion burning.

Writer and Director, Nelson George, shows us a glimpse into a world inside the streets of Brooklyn in his new documentary “Brooklyn Boheme.” While he sits and talks to some of Brooklyn’s most celebrated figures, the film is broken up into eight chapters and focuses on stories about people like jazz musician Branford Marsalis and actress Rosie Perez. Branford talks about all the great music that came in the 1970‘s and Rosie opens up about her dream home in Ft. Greene. The film covers everything from musicians, artists, and politicians, to its cafes like the Brooklyn Moon and what they call “black nerds."

Spike Lee is the dominant figure throughout the film and even though he has since left Brooklyn, you can see the love in his eyes for the community. Spike’s own film, “She’s Gotta Have It," not only highlights Brooklyn’s influence on the world, but is also considered to be one of the most important things to ever happen to Brooklyn. In the film, actor and comedian Chris Rock discussed his childhood that took place in such a violent environment and why he continues to live on its streets today.

In the “Boheme” interviews, George is able to capture and give its viewers a sense of the community within the community and how a neighborhood can not only inspire its members but can inspire the world outside as well.

“Brooklyn Boheme” is a wonderful example of America’s past and future. You will learn what has made it so special and what is happening now that is threatening Brooklyn’s uniqueness. I found myself intrigued with how many great people came from and helped shape a community such as Brooklyn throughout the years. In a way it’s not much different than most towns in America, the past will always remain as long as people like Nelson George are there to keep it alive.