Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today he spotlights a selection for November 5: The World Before Your Feet.
The World Before Your Feet
Directed by Jeremy Workman
1:45 p.m. Monday, November 5
Director Jeremy Workman's documentary The World Before Your Feet is, in the opinion of Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey, "a wonderful, straightforward, simple look at a man who's searching his soul."
Matt Green, the person at the center of the film, "decided he wanted to walk across the country to explore and find himself and find out things about the world," Withey goes on. "He walks from coast to coast, 3,000 miles. It takes him about seven months, and it was a real learning experience for him. But when he gets back to New York City, where he lives, he realizes that he doesn't really know very much about it, or his neighbors. So he decides to walk every block of New York City, in all five boroughs."
Here's the trailer for The World Before Your Feet.
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Thoroughly exploring the Big Apple takes Green even longer than did traversing the entire country and covers a greater distance: seven years and 8,000 miles. And what he discovers is revelatory.
"When he was walking across the country, there were huge sections of barren land," Withey points out. "But in New York City, there's one really vibrant community after another, and he learns about things he didn't know anything about. For instance, he starts to notice that all the churches in Harlem look like old Jewish temples, and in finding out why, he starts to figure out the history and why one type of neighborhood transitioned into another type of neighborhood."
Green is "a fascinating guy," Withey says. "He's almost childlike in the ways he gets fascinated by things — like the way a lot of hair salons and barbershops substitute Z's for S's by naming them things like Cutz and Stylez. It's a simple curiosity that's really endearing, and after watching it, it made me feel very hopeful. I wondered, 'Why am I not doing something like this?'"