Homeless (1989)

In my opinion, one of the most important films of the 1980s, not for its aesthetic but for its social value. Lee Grant is an unrecognized American Gorky and (like Chomsky) still very much alive in her 90s.

Writers Without Money

homeless-1

Homeless, just the sound of word is often enough to make us shudder. We walk past the mentally ill living on the streets of New York or San Francisco. Sometimes we reach into our wallets and drop a dollar or two into someone’s cup. Other times we just look up and keep walking, pretending not to notice what’s right in front of our eyes. There is no precise definition of a “homeless person.” Does it mean sleeping on a friend’s couch? Living with family members? Depending on the good will of another? If it does, then most children would qualify as “homeless.” Does it mean “not owning property?” People who live in homeless shelters and welfare hotels have roofs over their head, and are usually considered to be “homeless,” but how about people living in illegal sublets, or people on month to month leases? In the United States, if you…

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8 comments

  1. Hey Stan, Hope you are doing ok. We miss you! By the likes of it, your liberation from Twitter is boosting your writing.

    God, I remember this film from television as well and how much it impacted me. There was a cluster of social commentary made for television films around the time. Another one I have strong memories of is The March (1990).

    1. Not having to discuss Mike Rosenberg is a blessing I’m grateful for every second of my life these days.

      1. taiganist · · Reply

        Yeah, had to dig deep to get my wordpress.com account reset. I last used it in 2008 when I set up a website defending Reverend Wright a few lifetimes ago!

        Been meaning to say hi for a while.

        I’m glad you posted about this film. With the climate change and extinction reports, it’s just stunning that we knew, we KNEW all this back 30 years ago (at the very least — could go back to Rachel Carson). There were also a slew of documentaries about these topics in the late 80s and early 90s, not to mention Cosmos in 1980.

        1. I’ve been listening to talks by Mark Fisher lately. We’re about the same age. Well, were, since he’s dead. But he talks about the golden age of public TV back when he was a child and it reminded me that in the same year you could see Bernstein/Beethoven, Cosmos and the Jeremy Irons Brideshead Revisited on public TV, not to make the complete cycle of Shakespeare’s plays with a young Helen Mirren as Rosiland in As you Like It.

          1. taiganist · · Reply

            Yes, and on Masterpiece Theatre, they televised “A Very British Coup” (basically what they will do to Corbyn if he ever survives the neverending neoliberal gauntlet of character assassination to become PM), which I taped on my VCR, and watched many times.

            You’ll never see those kinds of films ever again, or they will bastardize it like the new Cosmos, which while it has its charms, comes across as slick and shallow.

  2. admin · · Reply

    Hey Stan, Hope you are doing ok. We miss you! By the likes of it, your liberation from Twitter is boosting your writing.

    God, I remember this film from television as well and how much it impacted me. There was a cluster of social commentary made for television films around the time. Another one I have strong memories of is The March (1990).

    1. There were really only two times I’ve ever been genuinely frightened watching TV. The first was watching this film, homeless. The second was watching a horror film with a little doll. Everybody who was a child in the 1970s remembers it.

      1. taiganist · · Reply

        Everyone remembers Salem’s Lot too!

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