Chop Shop

Chop Shop Release Date: February 27, 2008

“Chop Shop” is the story of Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco), a twelve-year-old Latino street orphan in Willet’s Point, also known as the “Iron Triangle,” a vibrant, sprawling, industrial neighborhood teeming with auto-body repair shops, scrap yards, and garbage dumps on the outskirts of Queens, New York. Alejandro, like many young boys in the area, works at one of the many auto body repair shops that line the street. Alejandro spends his days in an adult world, running errands, convincing customers to come to his boss’s garage instead of a competitor’s, and learning how to paint and repair cars. Although conditions are harsh, his life is sprinkled with moments of happiness as he carves out a life for himself in the wasteland of the Iron Triangle. The brightest of these moments is the arrival of his sister Isamar (Isamar Gonzales), who moves in with him in the tiny room that he has found for them perched in the back of the shop where he works. Knowing that creating a better life for the two of them is their best bet at staying together, Alejandro finds her a job in a food van cooking and selling meals to the workers in the Iron Triangle. With a mixture of childlike naivetĂ© and adult ambition, Alejandro begins obsessively saving his money to buy a mobile-food van as the two dream about owning and running a small business of their own. But when their dream, and their loving relationship, is threatened by the hard truths of life, work, and one another, the children find themselves forced to make the kinds of difficult decisions that most adults never have to face. Intimate, heartbreaking and yet ultimately hopeful, “Chop Shop” is a portrait of a young boy navigating his way through a chaotic adult world. Set in a stunning and unique location, it is subtle and simple, but tells a profound story about the people who live, work, and dream there.

Genres: Drama
Directed By: Ramin Bahrani
Runtime: 84 minutes
Studio: Koch
MPAA Rating Unrated