Richard Sandler's THE GODS OF TIMES SQUARE (1999)
Newly released by Elara Pictures and The Film Desk, this MiniDV street epic is gonzo-verité filmmaking at its finest, delivering the unbridled id of Giuliani’s New York.
Dec 19, 2023, 7:30 PM
Brain Dead Studios, 611 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
The Gods of Times Square
Directed by Richard Sandler
1999, 113m, U.S., DCP
Co-presented by Elara Pictures and The Film Desk
Veteran photographer Richard Sandler spent 1992 to 1998 documenting the manic street preachers and streetwalkers of Times Square, during a grittier time when the “Crossroads of the World” was slowly transformed from a free-speech common ground into a corporate theme park. In this MiniDV street epic, Sandler’s alternately bombastic and humbling oddball subjects inquire about the nature of God, argue, pray, or otherwise give him a piece of their mind. The Gods of Times Square is gonzo filmmaking at its finest, delivering the unbridled id of Giuliani’s New York.
“Once upon a time, town squares were comment sections, where people brave enough to shout their opinions did it face to face. There is no stronger belief than one’s faith, and what used to be Times Square was a town square on steroids. As the 20th century came to an end, we entered the corporatized Y2K age. Spirituality seemed an essential grounding force, something to unify us. But whose God is supreme? What is God? What is God’s place in the digital age? When Disney invaded Times Square it went up against the smut. It was a magnet for all things good and bad. It was hell with attractions. I still secretly wished to be yelled at whenever I enter Times Square…” – Josh Safdie
“In its foreground a study of urban theology as it examines the relationship of man and God in Midtown Manhattan…a good-humored, tolerant celebration of New York City’s diversity and eccentricity and of its incubation of sidewalk philosophers. But soon the construction cranes loom against the sky, and the family that owned the little hot dog stand nestled among the old movie theaters west of Seventh Avenue on the north side of 42nd Street gathers for a tearful farewell to the old Times Square. Enter Mickey Mouse. Enter Dopey.” – Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times
Special thanks to Jake Perlin (The Film Desk).