Detroit Film Theatre


Sunday, February 23, 2014

4:30 PM Detroit Film Theatre

(USA/1989—directed by Charles Lane)
On a wintry Greenwich Village day in 1989, African-American street portrait artist Charles Lane (the writer/director himself) battles a giant fellow artist, strokes an attractive businesswoman’s cheek a bit more than needed to get those proportions right, then gets stuck with adorable child Nicole Alysia when her gambler dad runs into big trouble — all without sound (but with a lovely musical score), and without the use of printed, on-screen dialogue. An homage to Chaplin’s The Kid as well as other classic silent films, and clearly making a modern statement about the plight of the homeless, Sidewalk Stories retains a magical sense of the fable, until a final, startling switch... Winner of the Prix du Public at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a 15-minute ovation, and shown at the DFT in 1989, the boldly inventive Sidewalk Stories became a hit independent film around the world, but then disappeared: it’s never been on DVD or home video, but has now been lovingly restored by Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna. (97 min.)
“Lane is endlessly inventive in the ways he finds to create humorous situations and tell his story through images.” –Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times  
“A charming, Chaplinesque fantasy that in its way boldly comments on the plight of the homeless in America. Don’t miss this sweet, gentle sleeper.” –Leonard Maltin  
“Imaginative and enjoyable! Michel Hazanavicius cited this largely forgotten film as a key inspiration for his Oscar-winning The Artist.” –Ashley Clark, Film Comment  
“A monumental film that’ll finally get its due! You might never have heard of it, but thanks to this rediscovery and restoration, that’ll never be the case again.” –Henry Stewart, The L Magazine