Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (1988, 80 min)


Tony’s first feature, which established him as an innovator of the “exploded documentary,” Lightning Over Braddock chronicles the decline of Braddock, PA, which once flourished as “Pittsburgh’s shopping center.”

Lightning Over Braddock“A triumph of pragmatic populism with a cast of union organizers, street hustlers, and Buba himself, should be required viewing at every Sundance seminar; this ‘rustbowl fantasy’ is one of the few regional movies to successfully and unsentimentally peel off the national smile button.” -J. Hoberman, The Village Voice.

Lightning Over Braddock is as eccentric a picture of America as has emerged in the last two decades. Like Buba’s earlier short films, it chronicles the decline of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a hard-luck town which once flourished as “Pittsburgh’s shopping center.” It concerns a director (Buba, playing himself) trying, without much success, to make a movie with a crazy street hustler named Sal, who considers himself responsible for Buba’s (modest) success.

Like Errol Morris, Buba has a fascination with the idiocyncratic details of daily life, and uses his formidable sense of humor to document the decay of industrial America. Lightning Over Braddock, Buba’s magnum opus, might have its tongue in its cheek but its heart is always firmly in the right place.

Lightning Over Braddock is distributed by Kino Lorber and can be purchase here.


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