Connecting in the dark: Can true love find itself again in 3rd Street Blackout?

(image via IMDb)
(image via IMDb)


Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf’s 3rd Street Blackout puts a savvy twist on the old “New York City as a character” trope, instead subbing in a Hurricane Sandy-felled New York City for the shiny, happy place most often seen in the rom-com world. The feature – which the duo wrote, directed, produced and starred in – follows a pair of tech-smart lovebirds who find their sanity (and their relationship!) tested by forces way beyond their control, including the hurricane, the subsequent blackout and a very smooth-talking Brit with a lot of money. (synopsis (c) Indiewire)


We all like to think we’re irretrievably connected in ways large and small to the people around us, but how true that actually is, and how deep connections run can get tested when a major disruption occurs to our life and we suddenly find all the things we were absolutely sure of called into question.

That’s the case in 3rd Street Blackout, which features two lovebirds who are operating under the assumption that nothing can come between the deep bonds they have forged as a couple; that is a handsome, rich investor and a force of nature unwittingly conspire to shake everything they know to the core.

The movie is drawn from Farsad’s own experiences when she found herself in a whole other New York during a blackout and learnt what happens when the connections we know, trust and rely on aren’t there anymore.

“I live on 3rd Street and I’m also a TEDFellow so a lot of what we put in the movie was (lazily?) borrowed from real life. Considering the storyline in ‘3rd Street Blackout,’ it’s not surprising that I had some romantic shenanigans during the blackout after Hurricane Sandy. Like the fake movie couple, during the actual hurricane me and a dude I was dating holed ourselves up in my apartment, making up songs on the piano. Throughout the blackout, we met and helped neighbors, made plans with people by leaving notes on buildings and with bodegas. Bartenders became communication hubs and the entire neighborhood went from onliAne-and-physically-isolated to absolutely chatty overnight. 3rd Street was in bloom and it took a massive blackout to make that happen.” (Indiewire)

Redleaf also backed up the idea of the transformative power of old connections being disrupted and new ones rising up to take their place.

“I was on the last block without power, so to my right was a busy metropolis and to my left a leisurely community banding together. It was surreal! The blackout was the first time I met my neighbors. Turns out the guy that never closes the trash shoot isn’t total garbage! I found out I had all these awesome people right under my nose that I continue to lean on. New York can be an isolating city and the blackout momentarily showed us another way of relating. It was like time-travel to before we had technological distractions. In making this movie, we wanted to share that feeling with the outside world.” (Indiewire)

Taking that idea of connections being a malleable commodity that can change at any time and in circumstances we can’t see coming is an innovative, clever premise for a romantic comedy which assumes as its core that connections are, bar the inevitable, easily-resolved hiccup at the end of the second act, on a disruption forward-trajectory that will end permanently and irrevocably happily.

3rd Street Blackout calls this unalterably happy-ever-after mindset out rather delightfully, asking us to consider what would happen if all our connectedness started fraying, twisting and pulling apart – what would be do then?

We’ll have plenty of time to consider our response when 3rd Street Blackout opens in US limited release on 29 April 2016.


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