Sunday, June 24, 1990

Forgotten People

Homeless on the Street

San Francisco Art Institute

The plight of the homeless has been the subject of independent documentary filmmakers going back to the darkest days of the Depression. Tonight’s program juxtaposes three different approaches to portraying the loneliness and desolation of transient urban living. On The Bowery (1956) by Lionel Rogosin, 65 minutes, depicts men and women of the Bowery, “who have reached a hideous sort of happiness achieved at best by gin and whisky, and at worst by a shared squeeze from a can of metal polish.” (Basil Wright) Howie (1978) by Chuck Hudina, 52 minutes, is a portrait of a 70-year old Bowery alcoholic and ex-sailor. “A fusion of narrative and documentary, Howie neither romanticizes its subject nor regards it as a specimen for analysis, but emerges as an expression of caring and restitution of dignity.” (Elizabeth Cleere) Street of Forgotten Men (1935), submitted by Craig Baldwin, is a 3-minute newsreel presenting a grim vision of society’s rejects.