Sundance Film Festival: 'Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street' underwhelms

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A still from Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street by Marilyn Agrelo, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo: Sundance Institute, Luke Geissb├╝hler)

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street
3 out of 5 Stars
Marilyn Agrelo
Writer: Michael Davis
Genre: Documentary

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — In 2018 Morgan Neville made a film called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” a beautiful documentary about Fred Rogers and his television program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was an incredibly emotional experience.

Marilyn Arelo’s “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” is something completely different. Based on Michael Davis’ book, the documentary explores the ideas behind and the creation of “Sesame Street.” It’s a more cerebral, factual experience. It still stirs up emotion. It touches from a distance, rather than working its way into your heart.

“Sesame Street” was as important to me as a child as “Mister Roger’s Neighbor.” It changed the way I looked at the world and myself. It was magical, wondrous and a safe place to explore ideas that were larger than my little head could process on its own. I enjoyed learning about the behind-the-scene details regarding the show’s structure and the evolution of the characters from a textbook perspective. I'm incredibly disappointed that it didn't feel more magical. I wanted to love "Street Gang" as much as I love the television series. I suppose reality has always been less interesting than the places our imagination can take us.

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