This is a plug for a very haunting and beautiful Japanese movie called (in English) "Nobody Knows". Its the story of four children who are abandoned in an apartment by their mother. Somehow, the children manage to fend for themselves for more than a year.... though their situation slowly deteriorates. What makes the movie particularly powerful is the fact that it is based on a true story-- a group of children that were abandoned in Tokyo by their Mom but somehow no one noticed for over a year.
What I love about the movie is that it shows the children's increasingly desperate situation without demeaning their humanity or dignity. If only the American media would take a similar approach to homeless and impoverished people. Instead, they have a pre-conceived storyline that includes welfare cheating, drug addiction, laziness, and lying. They amplify examples that fit this agenda... and ignore the vast majority of stories that do not. Truth be told, the well-washed SUV-driving masses have no interest in poor or homeless people at all.
The media helps assuage any guilt by propogating the lie that homeless people "deserve" their situation. The same goes for "poor" people. Tell enough stories about welfare cheats and other nasty poor people... and the gated-community folks can rest assured that "the poor" are sub-humans who deserve their fate while the well-off are the superior chosen of God.
"Nobody Knows" doesn't fall for that lie. It manages, somehow, to be beautiful, terrible, inspiring, and heart-breaking all at the same time. Much like life. Much like the true stories of homeless people I have known.