The documentary "Our City Dreams" profiles five visual and performance artists - Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic and Nancy Spero - who have their homes and studios in New York City. Each of them comes from a different part of the world and each is at a different stage of her career and life. Director Chiara Clemente spends not much more than a few moments with each of the women as they dabble in their work and chat about their backgrounds, the struggles they've had to overcome as women artists, and their individual views on art.
"Our City Dreams" is probably of greatest interest to those who already have a degree of familiarity with some or all of the movie's subjects. For the run-of-the-mill disinterested observer, on the other hand, the movie will likely hold far less fascination. The problem may lie in the overreaching nature of the film which doesn't allow us to get to know as much about these women as we would if the film featured only one or two of them, say, instead of all five. Individually, they certainly seem like lovely people but they tend to subtract from - rather than add to - one another when lumped together as a group. That's not to say that there aren't some lyrical and poignant moments woven throughout the film; it's just that we don't feel we learn all that much about their art - or the influences on their art - in the short time we get to spend with them. In fact, the movie doesn't even really explore how New York City itself inspired or informed much of their output as artists, which is, we presume, the intended purpose and goal of the film.