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From Push (2019), dir. Fredrik Gertten (courtesy the film’s website)

For decades, the cost of rent and housing has gone up while wages have remained stagnant. The result is that across the world, millions of houses and apartments stand empty while many millions of people either struggle to pay for — or simply can’t afford — places to stay. The new Swedish documentary Push, directed by Fredrik Gertten, travels to London, New York, and more to survey this issue.

The film follows Canadian Leilani Farha, UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, as she investigates the financialization of housing — how what should be a human right has become commodified, a tool of the market. It goes beyond trends like gentrification to look at the greater forces that drive them. Such an expansive view of a global issue makes for a daunting experience, to say the least, but it’s one well worth your time.

Push is now available in virtual cinemas.

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Dan Schindel

Dan Schindel is Associate Editor for Documentary at Hyperallergic. He lives and works in New York.