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Winston Washington Moxam's black-and-white documentary about homelessness in Toronto boasts glorious footage of the once sordid, pre-Disneyfied Yonge Street Strip.
A black-and-white documentary on homelessness in Toronto, From the Other Side is notable for the deep and affecting rapport Moxam builds with his subjects, ranging from social workers and priests to a homeless street musician, who effectively serves as our guide, a young lesbian who endures homophobic taunts (even from other homosexuals), a political refugee from Sri Lanka, and a First Nations family forced to seek aid at a community shelter. Given that some of our municipal politicians spend much of their time arguing for such important things as burger-joint licenses, it's perhaps not surprising that this twenty-year-old film seems depressingly urgent and all too familiar in its depiction of the issues facing the Toronto homeless, most notably the lack of shelter beds and qualified staff. On a more nostalgic (albeit sordid) note, the film boasts some glorious footage of the once sordid Yonge Street Strip before it got Disneyfied and became, in Geoff Pevere's words, "the multi-screened, Blade Runner-esque Times Square Jr. it is today."