Broken Lives Illustrated

Broken Lives Illustrated

2014, Society  -   15 Comments
Ratings: 8.33/10 from 57 users.

Saint Petersburg, Florida is renowned for its leisurely lifestyle, cultural riches and sun-drenched beaches. But like most cities across the United States, this alluring sheen hides an underbelly of dysfunction and despair. Broken Lives Illustrated peers deep within these corners of society that hide in plain sight, and delivers twelve remarkably intimate portraits of the city's growing homeless population.

Each subject testifies to a series of unfortunate events which have led them to this soul-crushing point in their life journey. In hearing their stories, we are reminded of the thin line that often exists between the blessed and the down-trodden.

There's the transplant from another state who came to Florida in the hopes of finding carpentry work. Unable to procure employment, he now lacks reliable shelter or the means to improve his situation in any meaningful measure.

Another member of the community speaks of the paranoia and violence that accompanies life on the streets. Beatings, thefts and murders are common occurrences in his world. His only reprieve from the madness comes in the form of a government disability check, which can only afford him an occasional night's stay in a cheap motel.

An older man traces his current predicament to the severe abuse he endured as a child while attending reform school. His ongoing daily struggles are a direct reflection of the emotional scars that were inflicted upon him all those years ago.

Aspects of their stories will be familiar to everyone, including issues related to drug addiction, mental illness, divorce, financial ruin, workplace cutbacks and just plain bad luck. None of us are immune to the challenges life throws at us; they are part of the human condition.

This is the kind of film that works best when it can provoke a strong sense of empathy in its audience. On this front, Broken Lives Illustrated succeeds brilliantly. This achievement is mirrored by the efforts of co-director Jake Troyli, a graphic artist who is shown sketching portraits of each interview subject on-camera. His drawings - much like the film itself - expose an underlying poetry and shared humanity that exists in all of us.

Directed by: Nick Brengle, Jake Troyli

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Petra Hernandez
5 years ago

Beautiful, sensitive documentary. This should not be happening in our country. But I guess saying that, is a cliche. I wonder if you couldn't publish a book with your beautiful illustrations sell it and use some of the profits to help these lovely people. They do seem lovely. Am thinking of a book like George Bush's "Portraits of Courage". I bought it and would buy yours also! or an exhibit or an Internet collection or something. I wish I knew enough to do something so as to help these people If anybody thinks of a way [lease contact me. I'd love to help. Petra

5 years ago

A woman can't have babies without a man. That man helps destroy lives too.

5 years ago

Abcdfgh it's not that hard to understand. Women can have babies, men can't. A poor man is a tragedy to himself; a poor woman with kids destroys their lives too.

5 years ago

So, JACKAL - Why do you say the women are ‘self-indugent’ but the men are worthy of pity for not having the mental capacity to change their circumstances?

As usual, someone says women deserve to go through bad things instead of being dealt a rough hand. When women are traumatised, it’s hysteria, but when men are traumatised, it’s ptsd. Etc. I could go on all day.

5 years ago

I watched this on YouTube and read just a portion of the more than 200 comments. They were about 50/50 with some saying they were so sad to see this (it came out over 2 years ago, by the way) while another group castigated some of the homeless, particularly the women of size who appeared to be living in a motel with their kids.
In Canada, where I am from, there is a lawsuit by some single-mother Native women who had their tubes tied after giving birth -- involuntarily. I understand that legally they have the right to sue their doctors, but I wonder if that probably wasn't the best thing that could have happened to them -- that is, they wouldn't have had to worry about having kids again, and at least they might have been able to concentrate their efforts on bringing up the one child they had. But to continue to get yourself pregnant, time and time again, and then not looking after yourself so that you have the potential of getting a job, is just downright, uh, self-indulgent. I have more pity with some of the homeless guys who just haven't got the mental capacity to get themselves out of their predicament.
An excellent documentary, but without an effort by the producer to do anything for the homeless. There should be a followup on some of the "movie stars."

5 years ago sad........Is there no organisation that could step in an help??

5 years ago

This film is proof that money means more than humanity does in America. Tragic and wasteful. This isn't a problem that's going to bet better or go away. If our democratic system continues to fail and so many citizens opt out of getting informed and voting, it will get much worse, especially with the opiate addiction epidemic happening now. Ignoring the homeless is foolish and irresponsible, kicking the can down the road for our kids to take care of. Christian nation, my ass.

5 years ago

All how can the men be as it the constructor for the mind to be forever the beautiful skin for the another around it to be near to his postulation ISO forever be input -it up the sheet color paper in the window.. tomorrow last men be with it the creator to his place with his skills and the base the old earth be appeared in the paper skin window.
Wonderful to smile and be the most to pray but the best send the old to he to be with the another..
Good Luck & first be the earth .. second tash the sky .. 2020 WORLD STAY STABLE

Richard Neva
5 years ago

This film is very depressing for me because I am one step away from where they are. My wife of 27 years left me so I packed up and left the house we bought (she got that and all in it) I took all my tools and moved to NY state following a girl I knew in college and that did not last long so I had to buy a house. I live like a hermit now and go further in debt each year. I will most likely be on the street soon. I keep getting further in debt now so that may be the best choice but I am not looking forward to it.

5 years ago

Nicely done. I agree with Grahm.

5 years ago

In Islam Muslims are required to pay 2.5% of their stored wealth to poor people, thus aiming to get people out of their cycle of poverty.

5 years ago

Out of the system. No way back in. The greedy 1% deserve to be whipped.

5 years ago

This just breaks my heart. We are the richest country (albeit the most corrupt) in the world;
Unfortunately the 1% have more money, land, and assets than the other 99% combined and it continues to get worse. Will those "unknown" that really control everything in this matrix ever be neutralized so the rest of us can live as our founding Fathers' hoped? I am embarrassed to call myself an American when people are forced out of the homes and forced to exist on the streets. There is no excuse for it and until the 99% wake up and see what is really going on I fear it will only get worse, for all of us. Turn off your Corporate owned TV and do some research. You might be able to help someone else and in turn, yourself. Pass it on! Excellent documentary.

5 years ago

It is to hard to see all this people destroied in aseconde .
5 years ago