Last night I discovered Streetwise on Youtube.It's a documentary directed by Martin Bell about street kids in Seattle in the 1980's.It sometimes seemed scripted but even if it was it still depicted a real situation that was going on in Seattle and everywhere else in the world where there is poverty or when irresponsible people become parents.The parents in this documentary shocked me more than anything else.One of them says that her daughter's prostitution is just a phase.Another one seems not to really care when her daughter tells her that she left home because her stepfather was abusing her and she didn't do anything about that.She said,he stopped doing it after you told me so it's fine now.
It's so sad to watch all these young lives getting ruined.The irony is that the tragic life of 16 year old Dewayne Pomeroy was turned into a movie (American Heart by the same director starring Edward Furlong). There were only six people at Dewayne's funeral, two of them were guardians for his dad because he was still in jail. Dewayne lived in the streets his whole life and killed himself a day before his 17th birthday. I don't think he ever imagined that his life would ever become a movie and people would make money out of it. Erin Blackwell(Tiny),the girl in the picture above attended the Oscars when Streetwise was nominated for Best Documentary. She was offered roles in films in Hollywood but apparently turned them down.
Despite the cruelty in those kids lives,they still remained kids.We see them joking with each other and acting like just like any other kid.It's almost as if they don't really understand how serious prostitution and crime are.It seems like a game to them.
There are some very beautiful scenes that show how innocent those kids were even though they lived like corrupted adults.The scenes when Tiny and Rat hang out and go swimming and kiss by the window and the scene where they say goodbye to each other at juvenile.
Also, when Dewayne visits his dad in jail and they try to touch each others hands through the glass.
All these kids wanted somebody to care about them and it seemed like nobody ever did.Even if the director was nice to them during the filming and his documentary made aware more people about their situation,their lives didn't change. I tried to find out where they are today and I found out that most of them are dead or in jail or drug addicts.So was this film another exploitation of these kids lives?Maybe not.I read that the director,Martin Bell and his wife,Mary Ellen Mark, offered to adopt Tiny but she refused.She also turned down a part in a Hollywood film. But would it have been better for her to move to Holywood at 14 and become an actress?I mean think of how many young interesting faces are out there struggling to become actresses.Some of them might become the It girl for a while but then they're back to where they started.On the other hand making a living as a prostitute at 14 isn't better but Tiny might have ended up doing exactly the same thing in Hollywood like so many other young girls.I guess when you're used to living like that it's hard to escape and go back to school or try to do differnet things and try to fit it in with people that never had any experiences like that.