The Collector of Bedford Street

"Excellent"

The Collector of Bedford Street Review


It's quite usual for people to walk out of a room during the televised Oscars when certain well-meaning but seemingly inconsequential nominations are called, especially in the case of short films, be they documentaries or fiction. As the entrants in these categories don't normally get a theatrical release, the honor is an enormous marketing victory for them, but that doesn't necessarily preclude further gratification.

The Collector of Bedford Street was nominated for such an Oscar in 2003, and thanks to being produced in collaboration with HBO, has recently come out on DVD with several exceptionally thoughtful extras. A profile of a mentally disabled man who spends his time collecting money for various charities on his stoop, it's also the story of how a person that could so easily be dismissed by society for his unfortunately inferior intellect has a profound impact on his community and inspires them to care and rally together for his future benefit.

The heart-warming aspects of listening to Larry simply wanting to help a good cause in the midst of a semi-functioning ability to live by his own resources are certainly responsible for the support this 34-minute film received. What's even more ingratiating is that the film is not used as a tool to float the filmmaker's ego about what a good person he is for assisting Larry. Instead, the focus remains on what options are open to him and how to achieve those results.

The additional features on the DVD, rather than the normal, drab interviews with the director on their accomplishments or some crew member waxing poetic about the subject, further explore and define services for planning stability for the mentally retarded. Included in these rare gems is an interview with an advocacy organization dedicated to finding housing for those with disadvantaged IQ statistics, self-sufficient housing instead of institutionalization. There is also an in-depth discussion with the corporate and legal parties involved in setting up the same type of supplemental trust featured in Collector that was set up for Larry.

This documentary not only highlights the positive and productive impact that those normally condescended to in our society can have, it seeks to educate people in sympathetic situations on options at their disposal in an articulate, thoroughly researched, and respectful manner. If developing non-fiction filmmaking aims at not only exposing new realities but also providing information on how to deal with those realities, The Collector of Bedford Street is a truly admirable addition to the genre.



The Collector of Bedford Street

Facts and Figures

Run time: 36 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st June 2002

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alice Elliott

Producer: Alice Elliott, Vickie Kenny, Sheila Nevins

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