I worked on this film. Clay Borris was way ahead of his time when he made Alligator Shoes.
I did the sound recording for Alligator Shoes.
While a teenager, Clay Borris began writing and making films about his own, his family's, and his friends experiences while he was growing up in a poor east-end Toronto neighbourhood known as 'Cabbagetown'.
Clay Borris's family is very interesting. Clay's French speaking Acadian parents came from a very impoverished and poorly educated background in east coast Canada and moved to east-end Toronto in search of a better life for themselves and their children. Clay, his family, and their friends did what was necessary to try and succeed on the mean streets of Toronto. His mother, Rose, ran their home as a boarding house. His father, Albert, who was illiterate, taught himself to be an excellent auto mechanic and earned a Class A Journeyman Mechanic's license without any formal training. His friends earned money through scalping hockey tickets at Maple Leaf Gardens, and other similar activities (some very illegal).
In telling the stories about himself, his family, and friends, and using them in his films (Rose's House, Paper Boy, Alligator Shoes), I think he was well ahead of his time. In 1981, Alligator Shoes was recognized for its importance by film critics at Cannes and elsewhere but the public didn't "get it" until recently as evidenced by the popularity of 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' and 'Reality TV. Recent films such as 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' and 'Reality' TV are very similar to the Mise-en-scene of Alligator Shoes. Unfortunately Clay Borris hasn't been given the credit for his insight and vision. View his films 'Rose's House', 'Paper Boy', and Alligator Shoes and think of its 'reality' context and you will understand.
Clay, if you read this, get back to your roots. B.R.
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