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Street Children in Film

Irving Epstein
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 375-388
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3185916
Page Count: 14
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Street Children in Film
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Abstract

In examining the depiction of street children in three classic films: "Kids," "Pixote," and "Salaam Bombay," I argue that the respective directors play upon our protean concepts of "the street" and "the child" in order to offer social criticism of three types of states: the consumerist state, the authoritarian state, and the neocolonialist state. In each film, street life is used as a metaphor for the way in which the state expresses its authority. In spite of their differences, the directors' share gendered views of children and childhood innocence, and see the street as offering its inhabitants the opportunities for pleasure and liberation, along with suffering and dependency. Through viewing the films together in comparative terms, the audience is able to understand the political subtexts that define our interactions with children of all types, in as well as outside of conventional classroom settings.

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