Filmed through a sepia filter, the Earth becomes moldy and fragmented. A person plays the piano. A sixtysomething homeless woman sits on a bench, her hands folded. A person plays the guitar. Phil Collins, sitting by himself, stares at the floor.
A ship of immigrant children sleep on top of one another on their way to America. A fortysomething woman sleeps on the street. An older man lies on a park bench as cars pass by. Men, in white shirts and dress pants, stare ahead, ignoring the young man sprawled out on the storefront. A thirtysomething man, wearing shorts, sleeps on the sidewalk.
Collins turns to the message on the screen, which reads that “one billion people have inadequate shelter.” A twentysomething woman lies on the ground, her hands between her knees. A fiftysomething woman sits on a chair in a refugee camp with her grandchildren. A little girl has her hand over her mouth.
A person signs a petition outside the White House. A young man eats his meal. Children wait in long lines for food. A man and his son sit on an abandoned couch in the city. Collins stares at another message, which reads that “3 million people are homeless in America.” A weary and wrinkled man looks up. A husband and wife stand outside with their shopping cart.
A sign on a store reads: “Please do not feed the beggars. They cause traffic problems.” A teenager sleeps outside a Roy Rogers store. Hand by his mouth, a message reads over Collins that there are 100 million homeless worldwide.” A group of people lay on blankets in a station. A man glances over a sleeping person as he walks by on the sidewalk. The moldy and fragmented Earth is shown again.
According to Mother Jones, in December 2017, the homeless population in the United States was about 554,600. Although the statistics are lower than Phil Collins stated almost 20 years ago, millions of Americans are at risk as Medicaid gets slashed and health insurance costs skyrockets. One diagnosis or job loss for someone considered middle class could result in being homeless.
The shrinking middle class are being targeted as, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to the said to the Des Moines Register: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” The out of touch statement ignores that a majority of Americans are working part-time and do not receive benefits. Most of it is in retail positions, which require assistance in order to live. The reality is Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Any money is used to pay bills. Wages are stagnant and taxes are going up. Social Security is not guaranteed.
Nonetheless, the homeless and poor in America are invisible. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Department of Labor presented a modified rule allowing the employer to take a worker’s tips. Bankruptcy is something Americans must fight off.
In the late 80s, Americans were dealing with the fallout of former President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down policies. CBS News reported that ordinary Americans weren’t able to benefit from it. Homelessness was a problem many didn’t want to see as they saw the economy start to rise and boom, waiting for it to reach them. The homeless people did it to themselves, to indifferent passers-by and cold store owners, were a drain on society. In 2018, the video is a precursor of what’s to come, with the added fears of losing safety nets.
Director: N/A Year: 1989
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from items purchased through them