The Decrepit

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Rating: 8.0/10 (39 votes cast)
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Filmed in the summer of 2011, ‘the Decrepit’ is a micro-budget project (less than $5k) that was made to provide an empowering voice to the people of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Too often these people are taken out of context and made to look as though they are ‘human trash’ by broadcasters and filmmakers.

Hear what these people have to say in the context which they intended.

The Decrepit, 8.0 out of 10 based on 39 ratings

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  • Joe
  • Paul

    Yawn.

    Another documentary trying to teach us all that drugs are bad and there’s a problem on the streets blah blah. No sh1t Sherlock, news flash, no one cares. Junkies will be junkies, leave them to rot.

    Let me save everyone 25 minutes of their lives….you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned. Done. Moving on….

    • aslader

      youre an ignorant piece of shit

  • http://www.marshmallowmouse.blogspot.com SB

    Sensitive and thoughtful – the filmmaker lets addicts speak for themselves. He shows us a range of people who found themselves on Skid Row for a number of reasons and breaks down the assumptions that they are “garbage.” Worth watching.

  • Josh

    What do i want to say to the kids? This movie was Terrible TERRIBLE, it was to leave you with answers about why these people are where they are? Well it didn’t, other then judging people for when and what drugs they started using this movie had no insight as to why any of these people are on drugs. Some dude stuck a video camera in some drugged out peoples faces and called it a low budget documentary. This is not the first documentary where someone approached homeless people as human beings, so get off your high horse about this being a sensitive documentary. At times i find the way the person behind the camera is treating the people to be quite rude. Go ahead waste 20+ minutes of your life watching this. Know there are better documentary about the Vancouver drug problem out there

  • Jaden

    I am trying to decide whether Paul’s comment, or Josh’s comment is more ignorant. On one hand, Paul wants to live in a world where problems should not be showcased and that people are insensitive like himself, bravo Paul, bravo. Oh and people do care.

    Then we have Josh, who has clearly missed the premise of the film. The film’s intention apparently was to let people speak in context, and not to provide answers to the drug problem, the filmmaker simply just let them speak. In no way did I find the film judgemental of these people, actually thought it to be supportive, look how these people opened up.

    It clearly is a low budget film, there are minor sound issues, and looks like all the footage was handheld, I am sure it could have been better if the filmmaker had more than $5k.

    As SB said, the film is sensitive and thoughtful and the filmmaker is probably a good person trying to help, it just sucks to see an artist give out their work for free to have ignorant idiots comment just because they live life in a bubble. More good people need to comment.

    Enjoy the film, well worth the 20 or so minutes.

  • thea

    I’m conflicted by this film…Not until the end, did I think I might be hearing the sincerity of the (I suspect) filmmaker. Until then, the film seemed largely exploitive and nieve.
    There are some great insightful comments from those being filmed (ie: people w/ lived experience should be present on & be informing policy makers; boards; commissions and the like. And how the black market drug trade thrives, BECAUSE OF the illegalization of hard drugs, which then gives easier access to youth…No, I wouldn’t have survived my teens either, if Crack & Heroine were as easily available then, as they are now. I barely survived my teens as it was…).
    I think all filmmmakers need to seriously question themselves as to why they are filmming specifically vulnerable folks on the DTES now. There is a plethoria of filmed material about us, that it’s becomming painfully redundant & myopic.
    I think I would have liked this fim better if it had another title. Maybe something like ‘Resilience’…”Drecrepit” lacks insight and respect.

  • Sid

    thea; you are right, there is a plethora of material on this subject, and being from Vancouver, I know there has been a few documentaries specific to the DTES.

    but I will have to say that it is not just in the end where sincerity shines, I think the filmmaker’s altruistic approach was apparent throughout. before even watching the film, perhaps read the short synopsis, the goal of the film is to provide a voice to the voiceless, and because of this film, there were great insightful comments (as you put it) which might not have been heard if it wasn’t for the filmmaker.

    “I think I would have liked this film better if it had another title…”

    this would have to be one of the dumbest comments I have ever read. to judge or weigh a film based on the title is pure stupidity. there is an enormous amount of films that were good but had not so great titles…

    we don’t know why the filmmaker chose the title, but judging by one of the opening scenes, it is not to hard to somewhat grasp his reasoning.

  • thea

    Glad to have made your Dumbest Comments Ever List Sid:) The title that an artist gives their work is very significant. I thought ‘The Decrepit’ was revealing of the filmmaker’s perspective & for me, someone who identifies w/ those who are being filmed, I found it insulting. Just my perspective…Also, these drive by docs–is what I’ll start calling them–that are not more thoughtfully contextualized or developed w/ the poeple that are being filmed, are somewhat exploitive. (Nicola’s discomfort made me uncomfortable.) I grapple w/ ‘this stuff’ & find eveyone’s comments very interesting & think it’s good food for thought, for future filmmakers to think about…

  • Nicole

    I liked the movie. Great to see that there wasnt too much graphic displays of drug use. I sometimes find that the story is lost or muddled with the shock factof of drugs, the message from the people is what I wanted to hear. However I do widh that the creator had done a bit of research on the topic he chose because some of his vocalized viewpoints on drugs at the end showed ignorance on addiction. True addicts should not be shown to have the creator say, legalize marijuana. The cant have any drug. One is too many and a thousand is never enough. If he had left out the legalization bit I would have liked the documentary more.

  • P

    I think the film-maker comes off as being extremely naive and self-riteous in this film, especially at the end. I echo Thea’s sentiments- that what the folks being interviewed had to say was extremely important and should be heard (and I also was uncomfortable by how Nicola seemed so uncomfortable with the situation- it seemed exploitative), howver I don’t agree that the ending made it really any better. In fact, the ending made me extremely uncomfortable. Rather than ending the film on an insightful comment made by an interviewee, or summarising what he had learned in making the film, he went on a “drugs are bad mmkay” rant, positioning himself as a saviour, his language and sentiment is extremely paternalistic and makes me super uncomfortable. He also seems to be completely unaware of the way the world works, that “go into this, go into that” bit comes across as extremely privileged, like everyone has those options and opportunities available to them, which just isn’t the case. Also the “soldiers in blue” thing? Really? Like, people don’t call police pigs because they fine them for speeding. People don’t trust the police because the police exist to protect privilege and wealth. Do you think the police make most of those people feel safe? Coz I don’t. The police make me feel completely unsafe, and I have been harassed by them to the point of having panic-attacks more than once for being working class and queer… and I am white and “educated” and I’ve never been homeless, so I can’t even begin to fathon the experiences of those who don’t have the same privileges that I do.

  • darwind

    I have worked in Vancouver all my life and the reason behind the large amount of junkies here is this. I don’t know what the solution is.

    1) The government cut funding for the mentally ill. Most of these people should be in mental institutions, not wandering the streets. Shame.

    2) Vancouver is the mildest climate in Canada all year. We get junkie influx from the rest of the country. Go west young man. Same Canadian safety net half the cold but twice the rain. Such is life in Lotus land.

    3) It’s a free ride. The junkies in East Van are not starving.
    Food is plentiful. Lot’s of organizations providing food and clothing too. Well fare checks go straight into drugs. Often it looks like a zombie infestation but other times they appear to be having one big 24 hr party.

  • Jaden

    P, your remarks may seem prolific as you typed them out, but at the end of the day they show us that you failed to understand the meaning behind the film. I have seen this film twice and I come to the same conclusion. Your remarks are trite and naive.

    Nicola was uncomfortable in the film, yes, but I sincerely doubt she was exploited. A simple email to the director of the film got an answer “everyone filmed was not filmed until they agreed to be filmed, furthermore they agreed to a usage release and a member of the police was there to maintain that the rights of the people were observed”.

    He also went onto say that Nicola had been a part of 2 other documentaries and that she has asked repeatedly to be a subject in films about the DTES.

    I think the filmmaker was trying to show the mentally ill in the most natural light of the DTES, as darwind said, the mentally ill wander the streets instead of being in homes…Nicola, being one of them.

    Furthermore, law enforcement is in its own ‘decrepit’ state because it is simply a product of a ‘decrepit’ society. I have worked with law enforcement many times and yes, some cops may be misinformed or abusive, but you are painting them with a very broad brush.

    The reason why your ‘queer’ life is still alive is that law enforcement has set precedents against crimes against homosexuality. The same people you criticize are the ones that sustain you from being a victim of anarchy.

    Everyone in Canada has access to education, the ones mentioned in the film are no further away than their local public library.

    If the filmmaker wanted to show the uncomfortable state of the DTES, he succeeded.

    The spoken word at the end of the film wasn’t bad either, but perhaps needed a bit more emotion.

  • Simon

    I thought it was a good documentary. The individuals he interviewed were interesting. Some had some good things to say. Not bad for a lil 20 min doc.

    7.5/10

  • BP

    Nicola is in the thin blue line documentary if anyone wants to check that one out. Seems she’s not doing so well now, it mentally has to take it’s toll on a person living
    down there for so long. It pains me to see this.

  • BP

    Sorry Through a blue lens is the documentary my bad.

  • BP

    Sorry through a blue lens is the name of the doc my bad!

  • Mags

    Powerful words man, well done. Great documentary.
    Light and Love

  • tihstaE

    WoW let’s all listen to the big piece of monkey crap Paul on top. Sounds like that azzhole knows it all Dumbshit

  • Anonymous

    Wait, this is completely incorrect.  Niccola is a drug addict…It’s clearly documented in ‘Behind the Blue Lens’.  Here they claim she is only suffering from mental illness.  Makes me question all other info the creator provides to the viewer.  WTF!  

  • Joe Leggo

    Dirty, filthy, people. No character. No brains. Put a fence up around the LES. Hire guards.

  • Liam Donaghy

    I think it was honest, but I watched it while drinking.

  • Ontario Man

    Welcome to skid row North America. East Vancouver.

  • GG

    Interesting doc, but what is exactly its message? That we should love the junkies? I think anyone with half a brain will understand that people become drug addicts to many reasons, there’s no need to preach it. Fact is, nobody forces a person to try drugs. Furthermore, hate to say this but many of our “brothers and sisters”, as this documentary puts it, will happily rob and kill us to support their addiction.