I found out how hard it is to change, really change. Even hell can get comfortable if you're used to it. All I wanted my whole life, was for that lonliness inside me to go away. But, it never did, no matted what I drank, or what drug I took, or where I went, who I was with. We all need something to help us get through life. All I needed was to find the right thing to rely on, something that would never go away, something I would never run out of. Turned out to be the same thing for everybody. ...
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Honest directing makes this film into a haunting documentary
I was very glad to have other plans turned upside down so I could be graced to see this film at the 2001 High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, NY, USA. I found that the dry, honest directing coupled with the documentary-style cinematography tended to galvanize the film into my mind. It's been about a week now, and I still crisply recall scenes as if I had lived them myself.
To elaborate, there are three things I think are key to making this film as good as it is:
First, the entire feel of the picture is documentary-like. You're presented with a chronology of events about a young woman living with heroin addiction on the streets--I found it particularly remarkable that it does not beg for pity ... it really doesn't force any emotions at all, but simply offers the subject matter honestly for the observation and judgment of the viewer. Unlike most directors of this and other charged subjects, Rosemary Rodriguez chose to present the subject in an almost matter-of-fact manner.
Second ... wait: for these last two points let me just say that I have no experience whatsoever with heroin or any other drug, so my opinion is tainted with copious ignorance. ... Second, I was stunned at the realism of the drug use in the film. I really believed the people in the film were using heroin and that each of them responded in a manner consistent with how I thought they should. There wasn't even a hint of the fantasy world of drug use propagated by movies like Reefer Madness.
Finally, Ana Reeder was amazing. There was not a frame of footage when I thought I was watching an actress. I swear this girl was hooked on heroin and actually was living the life of her character. I am generally fascinated by the craft of acting, but once in a while I am confronted with a scene like the climactic breakdown of Alix where it is beyond my comprehension altogether how someone can possibly act that true to life but really be acting.
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