American Refugees is a gripping and fast-paced portrait of life on the streets. Maintaining the richness and complexity surrounding the issue of homelessness, Wasserman and Clair offer a film that is equally academic and artistic. Shot during their four year ethnographic study, the filmmakers cover life on the streets from political conflict to service programs to social justice. Together with their book, At Home on the Street (out now from Lynne Rienner Publishers, rienner.com), Wasserman and Clair offer new insights into society’s broken relationship with those who are homeless, illustrating that even where social programs are designed to help, they often serve only to replicate the oppression at the heart of homelessness in the first place. Interviews with those living on the street, those staying in shelters, police officers, religious leaders, shelter directors, outreach workers, sociologists, city officials, graffiti artists, and radical local activists give the audience a well-rounded look into a difficult issue, all while maintaining an artistic sensibility.

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