Synopsis by Derek Armstrong
Actress and director Lee Grant returns to documentary filmmaking with this award-winning look at a cross-section of luckless Americans and the societal factors that contributed to their impoverishment. During an hour of diverse footage, narrated by Grant, Down and Out in America examines a group of protesting farmers foreclosed on by the bank, a grassroots homeless coalition stymied by greedy landlords, and a family of six living in a squalid welfare hotel after losing their home in a fire. Grant does not draw explicit connections between the downtrodden Americans. Instead, she lets the common suffering they express serve as an overarching comment on a society that has turned a blind eye to the needs of its weakest members. The film won the 1986 Oscar for Best Documentary feature.
against-all-odds, homelessness, poverty, welfare [govt. aid]