In this short but fascinating film, a wheelchair-bound homeless man, Michael, begins his day when he wakes up under an overpass, slowly maneuvers into his wheelchair, and heads to a local coffee shop. After cleaning up the sidewalk out front, collecting his pay (a cup of coffee), he makes his way to another overpass where he sips his coffee, and pulls out his flute. Unbeknownst to the hurried passersby, through his music, Michael is transferred to a world with able legs: legs able to run, jump, and leap with joyous abandon.
Under the Overpass (Fourth Project Entertainment) depicts this day-in-the-life story of Michael simply enough, but its true charm is in its many subtleties. Doug Lathrop’s understated depiction of Michael is contrasted by Gariss’s ecstatic gamboling as the “dream” version of Michael. The relative lack of clutter in Michael’s morning is also contrasted by the rushing and frustration of workaday others (e.g., stuck in traffic, bad coffee experiences, late for work, etc.). The more “normal” of the daily routines is exposed for its true silliness when these worlds collide head-on, under the overpass.
With this truly spirit-lifting, beautiful film, here’s hoping Under the Overpass marks the beginning of many things to come from Garriss and company.
[Gariss and Doug on the set of Under the Overpass. Photo by Patricia Kavanaugh.]
I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.