________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002

cover No Quick Fix.

Andree Cazabon (Director). Yves Bisaillon (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1999.
51 min., 57 sec., VHS, $39.95.

Order Number: C9199 217.

Subject Headings:
Homeless youth.
Parent and teenager.

Grades 9 and up /Ages 14 and up.

Review by Tom Knutson.

*** /4


She's wasting a chunk of her life, she'll never get it back.

And neither will I.

Andree Cazabon knows the streets. She's been there. Now, as a young filmmaker, she wants to tell a story that has two faces: the adolescents who are lured to the streets, and the parents who confront the nightmare of trying to save their children.

     In No Quick Fix, Cazabon follows the lives of two young people, Cathy and Laurent. Cathy has been on the streets since she was thirteen, and her addiction to heroin has been largely responsible for keeping her there. Laurent grew up in a middle class suburb of Montreal but was first put in the custody of Youth Protection Services at the age of thirteen. His use of crack and other hard drugs has propelled him through over twenty youth facilities with no hope of recovery. Cathy's and Laurent's stories reflect the first theme that Cazabon explores, the grasp that street life has on youth. However, Cazabon also knows first hand the anguish that parents experience, fighting both their child's addictions and a bureaucratic system that often excludes parents from the recovery process.

     No Quick Fix uses a variety of approaches in its delivery. Individuals reveal their stories through personal interviews that often say more through body language than words. Parents and their children discuss the impact of their conflict on the entire family, the frustration and helplessness that parents feel, and the myth that street life offers teens more freedom. The film also follows young people to abandoned warehouses and similar locations to illustrate the grim conditions in which people like Cathy find themselves living. Andree Cazabon also shows her father reading the letters he wrote to her during her time on the street, letters that portray his guilt, his hopes and, ultimately, her impetus for making the film.

     Similar to NFB's Turning Away, No Quick Fix is a dark and often bleak picture that helps the viewer understand the challenge of leaving street life. However, its equal focus on the parents' point of view makes this film a natural addition for those working with youth and parents' groups, and for those parents trying to understand their own child's choices. An accompanying guide provides further information for parents and educators, including a bibliography and additional resources.


Tom Knutson is a branch supervisor with the Saskatoon Public Library.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364