2012 FALLING UP MASTER TRAILER
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Published on Jun 11, 2012
See the whole film at: http://www.fallingupdoc.com/doc/Watch...
In 2004, Stephon Litwinczuk took to the streets of Los Angeles to launch his first documentary film. There he met Johnny Popp, a homeless Vietnam vet. The meeting marked the start of an eight-year journey charting the fate of this lost soul living out his days on Skid Row.
Litwinczuk first trains his camera on Popp as he lies atop an overpass above a freeway where he has spent the night. Speaking from a prone position, quite literally down-and-out, he begins a series of revelations detailing his personal history and the harsh realities of life on the streets. The filmmaker soon learns that the haunting memories of serving in the Vietnam War combined with the sudden death of his wife in a car accident constituted one too many tragedies for Popp. He hit bottom and joined the ranks of those living at the margins of society.
Empathetic, but unsparing, the film's narrative includes events ranging from an account of Popp being beaten up by heartless strangers to the small pleasures of a shave, a haircut, and a brand-new shirt. There are unforgettable images: Popp exhausted, seated in a cramped grocery cart, legs dangling over the cart's edge, holding out his paper cup for donations; Popp lighting up his morning dose of crack cocaine; the unexpected social grace of a handshake with a benefactor who hands him a gift certificate for food at Carl's, Jr.
The portrait of Johnny Popp runs counter to many preconceptions of the homeless. Intelligent, gifted with a sense of humor and a philosophical attitude, he practices a brutally honest self-awareness. His concentration on one individual never limits the filmmaker. Litwinczuk finds the universal in the particular allowing to Popp stand in for the many disenfranchised. He broadens the scope of his lens further to incorporate those remarkable people who serve the homeless, such as Mark Moten, mental health worker, and Lilian Lucero, the case manager who handles the complicated bureaucratic paperwork that makes Popp's reintegration into society possible.
An unanticipated twist in Popp's story comes in the form of a blessing-and-a-curse incident. Housed in a nursing home after a severe beating, Johnny makes two discoveries. The first is a restored appreciation for fundamental comforts: a clean bed, his own bathroom, regular hot meals. The second and the most important is Lorraine, a fellow patient destined to be his soul mate. The transforming power of their love provides a heartening conclusion to this compelling film.
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