Pilsen, My Pilsen

I haven’t seen Juan Ramirez’s new film Israel in Exile, but I am looking forward to it. I did however take notice of Mr. Helbig’s comment “the cinematographer makes even the mundane streets of Pilsen look gorgeous” [Movies, Section Two, May 4]. Well, thank goodness for the cinematographer making our neighborhood look gorgeous! Has Mr. Helbig ever been to Pilsen? Maybe he’s been to the east (gentrified) side. There’s no Starbucks on every corner or loft warehouses with terraces and parking lots. But there is a wonderful Mexican heritage evident in the colorful decorations of the homes and businesses. There is vitality and ambience as children ride their bikes and eloteros sell corn and fruit on the corners. There is also the wonderful architecture dating back a hundred years when the neighborhood was eastern European.

This is a real Chicago neighborhood, Mr. Helbig, not something manufactured and packaged to cater to tourists. Sorry if it’s too mundane for you. Maybe you should stay on Michigan Avenue, drinking cappuccinos from a sidewalk table where you can see the latest Hollywood crap starring Julia Roberts being filmed, utilizing the gorgeous downtown landscape.