New York director Hal Hartley has created many full length films starring famous actors like Jeff Goldblum, Parker Posey and Edie Falco, but back in 1991 he made a short film set in Williamsburg. Theory of Achievement follows a group of young Williamsburg residents as they figure out what to make of their lives. While I wouldn’t say the film is a cinematic masterpiece, the opening monologue of the 1991 film predicted a bit about the future of the neighborhood:
Look I know the neighborhood doesn’t look like much but plenty of people are moving out here to Brooklyn. Writers, painters, filmmakers, rock and roll musicians. It’s just a matter of time before this neighborhood becomes the art capital of the world. New York, Soho, that’s all in the past. I mean an art capital needs to be a place where people can afford to live. Who can afford to live in New York City? Look at Paris in the 20’s. Do you think Hemingway lived six room duplex on the Champs-Elysées? No. He lived in squalor. I mean, it’s just a matter of time before they start opening up cafes all along the BQE.
Yes Williamsburg never quite reached the art scene of Paris, but “Cafes all along the BQE” turned out to be one of the greatest understatements in film history. Check out the film or at least the first couple minutes: