Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Documentary: It Was A Wonderful Life

I love documentaries. Many nights I can be found watching a documentary about any number of subjects and topics. Documentaries open up your world and your mind, who couldn't love them?

I just finished the 1993 documentary, It Was A Wonderful Life, a moving film about the "hidden homeless" population that highlights the lives of six witty, intelligent, talented, and homeless women.

While it may be from 1993, the film is no less relevant today. Not unlike our current economic situation, the recession of 1992 - 93 left many Americans without a job or home. As the women featured in the film attempt to find jobs and safe housing, my thoughts went to our local homeless who are fighting city boards as they take up residence in tents, parking garages, and their cars. Sadly, not much has changed in the struggle to be safe and warm when one is homeless.

The women in this film have so much to offer society. They are articulate, artistic, intelligent, funny, and inventive. They are not the stereotypical images of homelessness. These women are "every woman," and if you passed them on the street, would never guess they are homeless. It couldn't be made any clearer that anyone can become homeless when dealt a losing hand of circumstances that can arise from divorce, lack of health care coverage, and unemployment.

The daily struggles faced by these women are no easy tasks. Do you know where you would go if you were alone and needed a shower? How could you afford to keep your clothes clean? How would you keep your dignity intact when the world tells you that you don't matter?

After watching this film I guarantee you'll never again complain about going to the basement to do laundry. You'll think twice about being "too tired" to cook dinner. Maybe you'll remember to extend a smile to the woman you know is homeless in your town. The one who lives in the only sanctuary she knows, her car.

Jodie Foster narrates the film with an original musical score by Melissa Etheridge.
Director: Michèle Ohayon
82 mins. in length

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