French-Canadian adult brothers Mike and Bin still live with their parents in the working class neighborhood of Cabbagetown in Toronto, their parents who largely support them. Mike works a ...
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French-Canadian adult brothers Mike and Bin still live with their parents in the working class neighborhood of Cabbagetown in Toronto, their parents who largely support them. Mike works a low paying nine to five job hoping to come out the other end with a long term stable career in the trades. Bin is shyster who doesn't really believe in work. What money he earns is in flipping junkers. His M.O. in selling them is to tell his customers of some minor issues with the cars so that they cannot come back to him later with the major issues which he doesn't disclose, he referring them back to the sales pitch and blaming the problems on their improper maintenance. Bin spends most of what he makes at the bar, with his one material extravagance being a several hundred dollar pair of alligator shoes for which he's long been looking. Despite the differences between the two, they will always help the other out of their frequent scrapes in the old adage of blood, at least theirs and their parents, ...Written by
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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