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ITVS Community Cinema: A Village Called Versailles 

When: Sat., May 15, 2:30 p.m. 2010
Price: free
The universe works in mysterious ways — for instance, the fact that this Independent Television Service Community Cinema screening of a documentary about a New Orleans community coping with the devastating consequences of Katrina was planned months before the floodwaters hit Nashville. S. Leo Chiang’s film explores the plight of a tight-knit working-class enclave of 8,000 Vietnamese refugees who live in Versailles, a neighborhood named after the Versailles Arms Apartments, a New Orleans East housing project where they began settling in 1975. After being forced from the area in the wake of Katrina, residents return (against the city’s wishes) and begin fixing their homes with the help of Vietnamese-Americans from across the country (and without any financial aid from FEMA). But as this industrious community toils away and creates its own redevelopment plan, Mayor Ray Nagin opens a landfill for toxic Katrina debris just two miles from Versailles — without an environmental impact study or protective lining, and right next to the body of water that flooded the area in the first place. Chiang follows the gripping drama that enfolds as the residents of Versailles, largely ignored by the city for the previous three decades, resolve to be ignored no more. It’s hard to imagine a more timely film — a story that should inspire Nashvillians when we need it most.
— Jack Silverman

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