Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (Tony Buba, 1988)

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (Tony Buba, 1988)



“His work has no parallel in American cinema. It’s this incredible combination of …serious political commitment, and this bizarre comic sensibility.”
—curator Jed Rapfogel on Tony Buba, New York Times

Join us in welcoming Tony Buba, whose scrappy masterpiece Lightning Over Braddock offers a charming and eccentric vision of hard-luck America while exploding the conventions of documentary filmmaking. Centered around a director (Buba, playing himself) trying to make a movie about a crazy street hustler (the real-life Sal Carollo), the film documents the decline of Buba’s hometown, the once-thriving Braddock, Pennsylvania. In its heyday, the steel-mill town was known as “Pittsburgh’s shopping center,” but more recently it’s where Hollywood went to shoot the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s postapocalyptic novel The Road(2006).

Buba has been documenting Braddock for decades, and few other films (or filmmakers) portray the lives of working people with such concern and humor, despite the overarching tragic backdrops. This screening is a rare chance to meet one of our country’s greatest regional chroniclers and to see one of the best, most prescient, and most overlooked documentaries of the 1980s. (80 mins., 16mm)

And also don’t miss Buba’s charming portrait Washing Walls with Mrs. G. (1980), on view all October in The Box.

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