"It never was a rat problem; it’s always been a people problem", according to the Baltimore rat-catcher. Those people are not the residents of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, but rather the bankers and company directors who decided during the previous century not to give these residents any more opportunities. In spite of its at times light, almost frivolous tone, and without saying so out loud, this documentary shows how the policymakers’ simplistic worldview still determines the look of the city. Not by showing a series of talking heads spouting opinions, but through attentive watching and listening. The rat catcher makes predictions, the locals hunt for rats at night on the streets or lie in wait with a gun in the garden. These observations lend an air of unreality to the city.
Rat Film is a story about Baltimore that isn’t just about Baltimore. It’s about all cities. How does the historical city hide within the city you walk through today? What ghosts haunt it?