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Nicholson Street - short film review

Directed by Juan Martín

Starring Alex Paiano Bickel, Lindsey Huebner

Short film review by Monica Jowett

A homeless man who keeps to himself amongst the community of other homeless and street performers has a particular spot on a busy street. When a new homeless girl joins the community he sees this spot as under threat from the girl as she draws attention away from him. Director Juan Martín brings short film Nicholson Street to life, portraying the experience from the perspective of the homeless community.

The homeless man (Alex Paiano Bickel) walks down Nicholson Street everyday with his shopping trolley loaded up (including his dog). He greets the others on the street with a nod and takes up his spot. While there is always something dramatic going on, like paramedics on the scene of a man who has collapsed or a couple of teenagers antagonizing an older man, the homeless man keeps to himself, never engaging in conversation with the others. However, his happy routine and isolated world he has created for himself is upset by the arrival of a new homeless girl (Lindsey Huebner) who takes a spot close him.

In the course of the film we find out the man once worked at a college. It is not important as to how he ended up on Nicholson Street but it shows how he and so many others are humans with a past. Nicholson Street is bittersweet in its message, and it is heart-warming to see the homeless man learn from the young girl about being involved with those around him.

The girl has a different tactic to getting some loose change for food than the man, as she is friendly and welcoming to anyone who stops by her. She makes little origami birds to give to people. The small community of street performers and homeless, as well as the people whose businesses are close to her spot, welcome her, giving her waterproof shoes and keep her safe. By not over doing the harshness of living on the street nor making it look like it could be enjoyable, Martín has created a film that celebrates the idea of community and people coming together to help each other out.

By choosing to display the film in black and white, Martín has created a sense of social equality; no one is standing out by their clothes or colour. It provides another sense of community and camaraderie the homeless and performers have with one another. As the short film touches on a current issue that is seen in cities all over the country Nicholson Street is eye opening in offering a view of what it is like for those on the street who rely on the kindness on those around, simply for a piece of food.

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