Black Independents, Vol. 1, February 2020

Sidewalk Stories

Opens Feb 25, 2020

TUES, FEB 25 & THURS, FEB 27, 7 PM

Twenty years before The Artist, and sixty-eight years after The Kid, Charles Lane crafted a nearly silent film for the voiceless in our society. Inspired by Chaplin's tender ability to humanize the less-fortunate, yet addressing the racial reality of 1980s New York City's working poor and homeless, Sidewalk Stories recast The Tramp & The Kid and set forth a playful and heart-breaking cinema that took the Prix du Public at Cannes. Without theatrical distribution the film vanished until its 2014 restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata. -TR

"Let's get this part right up front--Sidewalk Stories, the first feature by Charles Lane--is a flat-out brilliant piece of work." -The Times

"Sidewalk Stories weaves a spell as powerful as it is entertaining." -Roger Ebert

"Sidewalk Stories was conceived on the night of November 6th, 1988 on a subway somewhere in the Bronx after the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Don Lalonde boxing championship bout. I was heading home after the match on the graveyard shift, sharing a subway car with a collection of misfits from the fringes of society with nowhere else to go. A homeless black man slid over to me, presumably to ask for money. But no! He asked completely out of the blue, almost as if he was a mind reader, who had won the fight. I felt my heart melting. I excitedly described the details of another courageous victory for Sugar Ray. We continued to talk on the ride to Times Square, and as we parted, I gave this homeless boxing fan all the pocket money I had — one dollar and one token. My previous thoughts and emotions about the homeless 'problem' crystallized around the plain truth that every homeless person is an individual, not just a faceless part of the undifferentiated mass of society's rejects. As I rushed down the cold sidewalk to my warm house and sleeping family, I saw a pair of feet sticking out of a cardboard box. Two months later in the dead of winter, Sidewalk Stories went into production." -Charles Lane