Directors Lounge screening: Alina Skrzeszewska: Songs from the Nickel Thursday, April 28th, 21h Z-Bar, Bergstr. 2, D-10115 Berlin-Mitte
Alina Skrzeszewska created a colorful, sad and thoughtful film about the shadow sides of downtown Los Angeles, not without showing strains of hope. And there is music, songs by the protagonists starring in the film.
The Nickel, the Eastern part of downtown used to be an isolated island in the urban grid of L.A.: historic but sordid former grand hotels; the number of homeless people surpasses the number of inhabitants multiple times; a network of christian missions and charity organisations are entangled in what is called the Skid Row; from 10 pm through 6:30 am you are allowed to sleep in the street (but then you have to move); there is a lack of over 12,000 beds for homeless shelter; on the other hand, a massive police presence and the reign of crack makes life in the street like a trip to hell. In this strange otherworldly urban zone, the old hotels seem to be islands in the stormy waters, and they are the cheapest places to live in town. Here, the artist Skrzeszewska rented a room for over one and half a year while shooting for her film. Those who live here, and whom we get to know in the film, have at least some kind of steady income, a job in the hotel, a veteran pension, or social welfare for the disabled. They were able to leave the state of homelessness or the circle of jail and drugs.