________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 1999

cover Beating the Streets.

Lorna Thomas (Director). Tom Jackson (Narrator). Lorna Thomas and Jerry Krepakevich (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
48 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9198 025.

Subject Headings:
Problem youth-Behaviour modification-Alberta-Case studies.
Street youth-Counseling of-Alberta-Case studies.
Alternative education-Alberta-Case studies.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Review by Joanne Peters.

**1/2 /4

Life in the inner city of any Canadian urban centre is tough, and Beating the Streets depicts the life of two Aboriginal teenagers facing its challenges: poverty, substance abuse, family breakdown and violence, teen pregnancy, and pervasive racism are daily realities for Marilyn Brighteyes and Lance Marty who are profiled in this documentary. The two engage in prostitution and drug dealing in order to stay alive, although both are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties of their existence. Joe Cloutier, a former high-school dropout, now a drama teacher in Edmonton, nevertheless sees other possibilities for students like Lance and Marilyn and uses his drama background and his experience in alternative education to get them and others off the streets and into a classroom setting. Popular theatre workshops become the medium by which these students explore the issues which they confront in their daily lives; post-performance talk with their audience offers the opportunity to find potential solutions to some of their problems. After six years, Joe takes on an even greater challenge: the opening of Inner City High, an alternative school for at-risk teenagers. Running the school is an ongoing challenge for Joe, and life also continues to be an ongoing challenge for Marilyn and Lance, but, ultimately, they graduate from high school, and Joe earns a Ph.D.
      Beating the Streets is an uncompromising but hopeful examination of life for many inner-city Aboriginal teenagers. Although an interesting story and a fine documentary, it has limited curricular application.

Recommended with Reservations.

Joanne Peters is the teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364