A New Perspective on Wisconsin’s Homeless

June 12, 2013 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

Written by Director’s Cut guest host Doug Gordon, a filmmaker whose ‘mockumentary’ “The Zombeatles” was featured on the fourth season of Director’s Cut.

DoDirectors-Cut-Logocumentaries are a very powerful form of cinema. However, I must confess that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. Some seem overly long as if they were stretched to feature-length to enhance their chances of picking up a distribution deal when they could have been much more powerful if they clocked in at 30 minutes.

Marc Kornblatt’s “Street Pulse” is not one of those documentaries. It easily holds up to its running time of 68 minutes. In fact, I would have been happy if it had run another half hour or so. The film explores the lives of members of Madison’s homeless community, focusing especially on the charismatic couple of 51-year-old Robert Huffar and his 22-year-old wife, Angel.

Directors-Cut-Street-PulseKornblatt has constructed a very artful documentary which makes it easy for the viewer to identify with Robert and Angel, and their struggles to find a home. At one point in the film when the Huffars have found temporary refuge in the basement of a house, Angel says that moving from one place to the next is not home. That line really captures the essence of the challenges that homeless people face. Randy Lee’s masterful cinematography is also a big part of the success of “Street Pulse.” We get a whole new perspective on Madison by seeing it through the eyes of Madisonians who are searching for a place to call home.

It was truly an honor to sit down and talk with Kornblatt, the Huffars and two other people who appear in “Street Pulse” – Lonnie Evans and Nathaniel Don Abrams, Jr. It was only fitting that we had five guests in this episode of “Director’s Cut.” It gives you some sense of how Marc Kornblatt was able to give us such a powerful and intimate look at the lives of many members of Madison’s homeless community in a mere 68 minutes. “Street Pulse” shatters our preconceptions about who homeless people are.

Watch Doug Gordon’s interview with filmmaker Marc Kornblatt, followed by the feature film “Street Pulse” at 10 p.m. Friday, June 14.

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