More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “Tchoupitoulas,” a lyrical documentary about three young boys wandering through the streets of New Orleans at night.
Directors: Bill and Turner Ross
Criticwire Average: A- (23 critics)
Official Synopsis: “‘Tchoupitoulas’ is a story of the New Orleans night. It is a visually exhilarating and aurally immersive record of one night in the many lives of a thriving nocturnal populace. Three young boys act as our wide-eyed conduits to a parade of entertainers and revelers as they dance through the lamp lit streets and doorways of the Crescent City. From dusk to dawn, from Rampart to the river, we explore the lives and locales of one of the world’s most unique cities. In moments, vignettes, performances, and exchanges, ‘Tchoupitoulas’ is a kaleidoscopic odyssey into another side of New Orleans.”
“A heady hybrid of documentary and dream.”
“Structured like a classic city symphony, the film is a richly impressionistic evocation of the sights, sounds, and personalities of New Orleans at nighttime.”
Ian Buckwalter, Washingtonian:
“May come as close as is possible to replicating the experience of a night spent walking the streets of New Orleans.”
“A documentary that doesn’t feel like a documentary — and that’s a good thing.”
Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune:
“To resist the Ross brothers’ lyrical and wonderfully unconventional film is to make a mistake.”
“It doesn’t tell a story so much as it ponders what stories can do, how experience and perception shape one another, how you can’t know, but how you can, sometimes, understand.”
“Want to knock a decade (or three) off your life? For 80 minutes at least, experiencing New Orleans through the lens of the Ross Brothers’ camera in ‘Tchoupitoulas,’ with the guidance and vitality of the film’s three youthful leads, will do just that.”
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice:
“If you can get over that meta-factual weirdness, though, the film is rich with pleasures.”
“The film’s deliberate aimlessness — the scenes often feel arbitrarily arranged, since it doesn’t have to get anywhere — can get frustrating, but the Rosses are happy to trade cohesion for a rich, varied immersion in New Orleans nightlife.”
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York:
“Even at this short running time, there’s a looseness to the kaleidoscopic adventure that becomes slightly wearying.”
“Tchoupitoulas” is now available on demand and digital.
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