South Boston shapes up to go green in this well-balanced documentary about the construction of an environmentally friendly luxury high rise that’s energy efficient and built from recycled and sustainable materials. But the tough-talking Southie construction workers making it happen aren’t exactly ready to be dubbed environmentalists, and their efforts and candid thoughts about the project prove it really isn’t easy being green.



Set on the storied streets of South Boston, The Greening of Southie is a feature documentary about Boston’s first residential green building, and the skeptical workers who are asked to build it. From wheatboard cabinetry to recycled steel, bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets, The Macallen Building is something different–a leader in the emerging field of environmentally friendly design. But Boston’s steel-toed union workers aren’t sure they like it. And when things on the building start to go wrong, the young developer has to keep the project from unraveling.

The film works as a counterpoint to a lot of the mindless Eco-friendly claptrap out there. Basically, you get to see what a lot of this green material does in real world environments such as the inner city of Boston. Cabinets made of eco-safe materials warp when the weather changes, the roof is more prone to leaks and you’re always having to hit a gold score with untested materials. While they do make a point that second-world nations have been leading the way in this initiative, they bring up the fact that it’s because they’ve got nowhere to go but up. Making America conservation friendly is a challenge that probably won’t be met for a few more decades, but it’s slowly improving.

The DVD comes with no real special features. However, the A/V Quality is a lot stronger than I expected for a documentary that’s getting more play in the public sector than for private consumers. On top of that, it’s a legit documentary regarding this kind of matter that doesn’t rely on fudging the facts in Powerpoint. If you have some right-wing friends on the fence about the various green issues, they’ll warm up to this. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.



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