Streetwise / Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

The Criterion Collection

Streetwise / Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

Regular price $48.00

In 1983, director Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of homeless and runaway teenagers living on the margins in Seattle. Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of kids who survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Its most haunting and enduring figure is iron-willed fourteen-year-old Erin Blackwell, a.k.a. Tiny; the project’s follow-up, Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, completed thirty years later, draws on the filmmakers’ long relationship with their subject, now a mother of ten. Blackwell reflects with Mark on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s battles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her children, even as she sees them repeat her own struggles. Taken together, the two films create a devastatingly frank, empathetic portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them, and of a family trying to break free of the cycle of trauma—as well as a summation of the life’s work of Mark, an irreplaceable artistic voice.

Films in this set:

Streetwise

Seattle, 1983. Taking their camera to the streets of what was supposedly America’s most livable city, filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of those society had left behind: homeless and runaway teenagers living on the city’s margins. Born from a Life magazine exposé by Mark and McCall, Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of at-risk children—including iron-willed fourteen-year-old Tiny, who would become the project’s most haunting and enduring figure, along with the pugnacious yet resourceful Rat and the affable drifter Dewayne—who, driven from their broken homes, survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Granted remarkable access to their world, the filmmakers craft a devastatingly frank, empathetic portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them.

FILM INFO

  • United States
  • 1984
  • 91 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.40:1
  • English
  • Spine #1079

Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

In Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, director Martin Bell and photographer Mary Ellen Mark draw on their thirty-year relationship with one of the most indelible subjects of Streetwise. Now a forty-four-year-old mother of ten, Erin Blackwell, a.k.a. Tiny, reflects with Mark on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s battles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her own children, even as she sees them being pulled down the same path of drugs and desperation that she was. Interweaving three decades’ worth of Mark’s photographs and footage that includes previously unseen outtakes from Streetwise, this is a heartrending, deeply empathetic portrait of a family trying to break free of the cycle of trauma, as well as a summation of the life’s work of Mark, an irreplaceable artistic voice.

FILM INFO

  • United States
  • 2016
  • 88 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #1080