Contains explicit language
Sidewalk Stories is a silent film, shot in black and white on the streets of New York in 1989. Its writer, director and star, Charles Lane, drew inspiration from the silent comedy greats like Chaplin, Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, to make a present-day comedy about homelessness with a mostly African American cast.
Lane plays The Artist, an aspiring illustrator down on his luck, who spends his days peddling portraits in Greenwich Village. At night, he sleeps in a makeshift apartment in an abandoned tenement. His life dramatically changes in the course of a day when he's forced to take care of a two-year-old toddler he found on the street.
Lane, who originally hated silent movies, says Sidewalk Stories was meant to be an experiment in pure cinema, a type of filmmaking that honors film in its most elemental form.
He recently screened the film in honor of its 25th Anniversary as part of the Film Independent at LACMA screening series, and afterwards, joined Elvis Mitchell for the following conversation.
Banner image courtesy of Film Independent