Street Smarts

Rating: NNNNchildren underground (Edet Belzberg, 2000) takes a devastating look at five homeless children living in a Bucharest subway station..


Rating: NNNN

children underground (Edet Belzberg, 2000) takes a devastating look at five homeless children living in a Bucharest subway station. In hopes of increasing his nation’s population, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu outlawed contraception, thereby ensuring the birth of thousands of unwanted children. Documentary filmmaker Belzberg earned the trust of these five feral kids and brought her camera into the station, capturing their day-to-day lives. Led by Cristina, a sometimes brutal, skin-headed teen whose macho persona fends off predators, the kids manage to beg for food and money that goes toward buying paint to sniff. The images are horrifying: a drooling girl so high that she’s transformed into a statue, filthy kids running around like animals. The worst part is that we know these children may be better off than other Romanian orphans and runaways. Belzberg follows the group for over a year, and while there is hope that a few will survive their torturous youth, it’s clear others will simply disappear. NNNN (Doc Soup screening, January 18, ROM theatre)

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