Dreamcatcher

 

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A non-judgmental take on life at its harshest on Chicago’s East Side which nevertheless offers hope.

  

 

Dreamcatcher

 

Kim Longinotto is a well-established documentarian whose work has sometimes left me indifferent. But here in Dreamcatcher she has found a subject matter that is ideal for her. On one level this is a portrait of an extraordinary woman who started out as a victimised child and then became a prostitute. Today this same woman, still living in the same part of Chicago noted for prostitution, drug taking and drug dealing, is the key figure running the Dreamcatcher Foundtaion which she herself set up to assist local women in dire need of help. Add that this woman, Brenda Myers-Powell, at one stage became a victimiser herself and the way in which she has turned her life around is truly remarkable.
 
Brenda, who is black like the majority of those seen here, regards the people whom she helps not as criminals but as survivors, and this revelatory film makes us understand the neighbourhood and its poverty so that we can recognise how the odds are stacked against them. Consequently Dreamcatcher is a compelling social document. It may be a bit shapeless at times and one would have welcomed some additional subtitles in scenes where the words are not altogether clear, but this film is undoubtedly something special. At its heart is the way in which it makes us aware that Kim Longinotto established a true rapport with Brenda and the others featured. Frankness born of both respect and trust enables the filmmaker to bring home the truths that made her want to make this film in the first place.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring Brenda Myers-Powell, Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, Ruth Vassell.

 

Dir Kim Longinotto, Pro Lisa Stevens and Teddy Leifer, Ed Ollie Huddleston, Music Stuart Earl.

 
Rise Films/Green Acres Films/Vixen Films/Impact Partners etc.-Dogwoof.
104 mins. UK/USA/The Netherlands. 2014. Rel: 6 March 2015. Cert. 15.