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A still from 'There's No Place Like This, Anyplace' directed by Lulu Wei.

ReFrame Review: There's No Place Like This, Anyplace

Written by
Janine Joseph
and
January 19, 2021

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace

(Canada, 77 min. 2020)

Director: Lulu Wei

ReFrame Review: There's No Place Like This, Anyplace
A still from 'There's No Place Like This, Anyplace' directed by Lulu Wei.

The evolution of a city induces a cycle of loss and reinvention among its diverse faces and communities. There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace is an all too familiar tale about gentrification in Toronto; a city that prides itself on its livability and cultural diversity where condo development and increasingly expensive rents are unattainable for many residents. Based in the hustling area of Bloor and Bathurst, Lulu Wei takes us into her own life and others in the neighbourhood as they are pushed further and further from the city’s core. 

Since its opening in 1948, Honest Ed’s has become a key landmark in Toronto. A larger than life bargain store that people gravitate towards as a hub for new immigrants and Toronto residents alike. Ed Mirvish and his vibrant retail store continued to thrive in the community until its sale and destruction in 2013. Just down the block, Lulu and her partner are forced to leave their beloved apartment. Lulu begins documenting the neighbourhood as it goes through this massive development, talking to the activists, residents and artists who shaped the community as well as condo developers and city officials who are deciding its future. 

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace is effective in the use of archival footage, intimate storytelling and compelling characters approaching gentrification through a humanistic lens. There is an increasing need for the preservation of history and culture within our city centres. Gentrification attacks more than just the physical, it destroys the heritage of a neighbourhood. The future of the city depends on developers creating affordable housing based on income, not the average cost of rent. If affordability is out of the question, who will be the ones to occupy these spaces?

ReFrame Film Festival is streaming January 22-29, 2021. Details and tickets are available on their website.my.reframefilmfestival.ca

Janine Joseph is an intern at ReFrame Film Festival.

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