Sunday, August 7, 2011


The seven-minute film, below, is getting attention. Me, I'm bothered by it more than a little. I was affected by the little movie, but also repelled by the 'romantic' notion that homelessness can be swept away in an instant AND by the very idea from the film that it is desirable and so self-evidently so that a homeless portion of a person's life should be utterly swept away, like a bad dream. The circumstance of homelessness, of sleeping on the street, is a lesson-learning opportunity. While there are dangers and deprivations in being homeless, the life circumstance is also more-raw in many, many altogether good ways, than a life that is wholly unchallenged and floating on a sea of illusion.

At the film's website, we are told the message of the film is "that life is good." Maybe that theme predominated in the minds of it creators while they were making the film, but the short is what it is and I don't think its message is that.


Blogger Steve said...

Tom, it seems to me that life offers enough challenges to most people in this troubled world that they don't need to ever go homeless to avoid "living a a life that is wholly unchallenged and floating on a sea of illusion." And I didn't get the impression from watching the video that the man would ever forget any lessons he might have learned from his homeless period. How could anyone forget them?

August 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Armstrong said...

Legitimate criticisms of what I wrote.

I guess I'm bummed [excuse the pun] by all the theatricality that precedes any reconciliation between "the man" and his family. I do understand that it's a movie and thus they buff it into a complicated thing. But in any 'real world' all the beforehand nonsense would be avoided.

So, maybe I'm too literalist, but I am -- now, at least -- lost as to what the little film is supposed to *mean*.

In any reality when a committed-to-the-street street guy is reconciled with his long lost family, I *think* its an uncomfortable thing -- and that doesn't come off in the movie.

August 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

You're probably right about it being not terribly realistic. Maybe they were striving to be more idealistic than realistic, for whatever reason. Or maybe they just didn't know what the hell they were "talking" about.

August 11, 2011 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Armstrong said...

There's a circumstance that has played in the backpages of papers over the past year or so about a guy a lot like the fellow in the movie who was on the street for decade, was located by his 35-yr-old daughter and taken to Michigan to live with her and her husband and their daughter.

We were told that the relationship was somewhat tempestuous, but that there was love, too, in the relationship.

I think the old street guy had cancer or something and died not too long ago.

There are other stories, a variation on that theme, that prove that the underlying story in Momentos happens -- families snag their homeless relative and pull him off the street -- but it is not an immediate glorious moment. It is difficult and fraught with reconciliation difficulties and arenas of bitterness.

August 12, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

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