A homage to Chaplin’s The Kid and arriving 20 years before The Artist, Charles Lane’s hilarious and near-silent black and white comedy has all the elements of the great silent comedies: physical grace, perfect timing and sly social commentary.
An essential title of the New Black Cinema movement, it tells the story of an unlikely father-daughter pairing. A homeless artist (played by the director) is charged with the care of a toddler (played by Lane’s real life daughter) when her father is murdered. Fearing he will be framed by the police for the killing, he flees the scene with the child. Venturing through the streets together, they meet a strange assortment of characters while slowly developing an intimate friendship as they do their best to search for her living relatives.
If you’ve wanted to see Sidewalk Stories since its original release in 1989, you’ve had very few opportunities to do so. Full of fantastic set pieces and social commentary, it was cited by Michel Hazanavicius as his key inspiration for his Oscar-winner The Artist. But Lane’s film doesn’t just pay tribute to silent comedy of the past and influence those of the future. It added a major new chapter to the genre in its own right.
Presented with the support of the Independent Cinema Office and BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery.