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Near Penn Station, next to the Amtrak tracks, squatters have been living for years. Marc Singer goes underground to live with them, and films this "family." A dozen or so men and one woman talk about their lives: horrors of childhood, jail time, losing children, being coke-heads. They scavenge, they've built themselves sturdy one-room shacks; they have pets, cook, chat, argue, give each other haircuts. A bucket is their toilet. Leaky overhead pipes are a source of water for showers. They live in virtual darkness. During the filming, Amtrak gives a 30-day eviction notice. Written by
Singer was permitted to use a 16mm Bolex on loan from a camera house in New York without up-to-date payments. He was given left-over film stock on a "pay-later" basis from Kodak and other resources. The lab in New York that processed his negatives and prints also granted him this favor. He began editing on a flatbed, before he was granted the use of an avid at practically no charge from a friend of a friend. He also had complete and total creative control over the project and its final cut, also a rarity. See more »
This movie hits upon all the emotional movers: laughter, sadness, regret, hope. The alternative life style is like you've never seen or heard or could have understand through the usual stereotypes. The screen shots are well captured and the music of dj shadow neatly completes the puzzle.
The only part I didn't enjoy was the ending. Not that I have anything against those sorts of endings, but as Marc Singer himself told me after the movie, it was unrealistic. It was only possible because of the negative press associated with the issue and the particular homeless of the film. An all-too-real look into american subcultures shouldn't stray into fantasy in the end. I would have lengthened the beginning and middle, and simply left out the ending. BUT, the movie was still great, 9 of 10.
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