Thursday, December 15, 2005

On The Corner

I realized last night that I have never seen any movies or TV shows or any interpretations in any kind of media about life on the drug infested east side of Vancouver. Until now, I really didn't comprehend the tragic reality for many people in my city. My friend was channel surfing and landed on the Adrenaline Drive movie channel, which was playing a film that I thought looked rather different from the usual blockbuster testosterone overdoses. It was one of those low budget films that you can tell is Canadian just by the way it's shot and the unrecognizeable actors. I admit this is how I had originally judged the movie we had landed on, entitled On The Corner.

The film illustrates the lives of brother and sister Randy and Angel as they try to survive in East Vancouver. Angel finally gets her act together after being hospitalized and hence being forced to withdraw from her addiction to heroin, just in time for her young brother to become a slave to the street drug trade.

This movie was impossible to turn away from. Finally, I saw the absolute despair of people who live mere blocks from me. Why had I never known of it before? I'd seen drug addicts yelling to themselves on the streets, and dismissed them as 'silly crackheads', but I had no comprehension of the absolute tragedy that takes place daily in my city.

Pictured above is Alex Rice, Canadian-born Mohawk actress who beautifully portrayed the downtrodden, heroin-addicted Angel. After getting her young brother a job as a drug dealer, he becomes addicted to crack and ends up becoming a male prostitute to support his habit; a neighbour beats her up and throws her down the stairs, putting her in the hospital; and finally, her best friend gets abducted by a pedophile.

There is no upside, no solution, no social worker who saves the day.

If you have ever felt sorry for yourself, or wondered why the infamous Hastings Street looks like hell on earth, watch this movie and you'll see the bigger picture.


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