The ballooning price of real estate in Vancouver has made much of the city’s core uninhabitable for many citizens that have been saving up for years. Stagnant wages are pushing city residents out from prized homes and apartments that are now too pricey to afford. Meanwhile, offshore money coming from wealthy Asian buyers has created a schism between the new arrivals and lifelong Vancouverites. As the city deals with a housing crisis, its citizens grapple with what their futures on the West Coast may hold.
For many artists, timing is everything. For director Charles Wilkinson, a premiere of a documentary with this subject in a city experiencing its own real estate predicament should deepen its impact. Vancouver: No Fixed Address explores many sides of a multifaceted issue, from government inaction to the modern “sharing economy.” Wilkinson’s film is dense but rarely overwhelming, benefitted by many fascinating voices that speak their minds with clarity and power. The subjects range from David Suzuki to a member of the Haida Gwaii. (Both complain about income inequality and a continuing shortage of natural resources.)
As one figure states near the doc’s end, the laid-back mentality of city residents means that protests and pushes to change have been slow to come. This mirrors an issue with Wilkinson’s film: there is much to absorb but little guidance about how the city can improve matters in the future. Ultimately, the film is both comprehensive and incomplete.