Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021


Year: 1999
Country: United States
Run Time: 87 minutes

Haskell Wexler dwells in two worlds, one as a much sought-after Hollywood cinematographer with a glittering record: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "Days of Heaven," "Coming Home," "Blaze," the original "Thomas Crown Affair" and others. Then there's Wexler the social-progressive documentarian, turning his lens on the disadvantaged and dissident. The Los Angeles of BUS RIDERS UNION is no playground to the stars but a polyglot city where a small oligarchy of elite control the power and public money, and the working poor and homeless get left in the dust. So it is with the Metropolitan Transit Authority's notoriously inadequate bus system, the object of ruinous service cuts and price hikes. Meanwhile the always-begging MTA manages to finance a little-used LA train and subway network and a Taj Mahal look-alike headquarters for itself. In the 1990s a grassroots citizens' movement, the Bus Riders Union, declares war on the MTA, using creative nonviolent protests and the courts to force reform, and you are there as Wexler and Johanna Demetrakas chronicle the whole David-vs.-Goliath struggle. It's an LA story not showcased on any infotainment-news program.

Johanna Demetrakas, Haskell Wexler

Haskell Wexler.

Haskell Wexler, Joan Churchill, Scott Miller, Johanna Demetrakas, Bill Bryn Russell.

Johanna Demetrakas, William Russell.

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