‘Dirty Feathers’ Review: A Lyrical Documentary Postcard From the Edge

‘Dirty Feathers’ Review: A Lyrical Documentary Postcard From the Edge
The lives portrayed in Carlos Alfonso Corral’s slim, sensitive and soulful “Dirty Feathers” are lived on several edges. There’s the edge of poverty. The film’s subjects are homeless, in and out of shelters, sometimes sleeping under bridges. There’s the edge of addiction and sobriety, with many of them heavy drug users in various stages of kicking or sliding back into the habit. And with one guy brandishing a blade in a moment of chest-beating bravado, there’s the knife-edge of violence and mental instability, as various volatile conditions go untreated due to insurance status and lack of access to healthcare resources.

This marginalization is geographical too: “Dirty Feathers” was filmed on the streets and in the institutions of the U.S.-Mexico border towns of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, reflecting Corral’s own Mexican-American identity. And while Nini Blanco’s beautiful, expressive handheld monochrome photography
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