Carts Of Darkness
December 31, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Murray Siple, a snowboarder and extreme sport filmmaker, suffered a debilitating injury in an auto accident which ended his career. Or so he thought. Years later, he came across a group of homeless men in Vancouver, BC who combine their livelihood of collecting bottles for recycling with their love of speeding down hills on shopping carts. He made a film about them which avoids easy clichés and provides a portrait of humanity and thrill-seeking that is joyous and enlightening. Carts Of Darkness [59m24s] can be viewed in full (even in HD) at the National Film Board of Canada website.
posted by hippybear (15 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite NFB documentaries ever. The wealth disparity in Vancouver is staggering (no more so than in North / West Vancouver where this was filmed) so the 'fuck you'-itude of bombing those streets with a concrete block in the front of a shopping cart is almost poignant.
posted by anthill at 7:27 PM on December 31, 2011

"So this is my life, I stay in that tree over there. I've been there for two weeks now. I live in a bush, collect cans....and I race shopping carts at 50-70 mph down the steep hills of North Vancouver."

How awesome is that? I just downloaded the HD version. Thanks for sharing!
posted by mrducts at 7:28 PM on December 31, 2011

Enlightening, interesting, but ultimately a bit dispiriting (for me anyway). On the one hand it's "freedom", "riches" "friends" and an interpretation of empowerment, but finally it's the refuge in a barren basement and the desire to feel like a "human being".
posted by marvin at 7:33 PM on December 31, 2011

That was fascinating. I can't make the things go in a straight line in the cereal aisle, let alone standing on the back at 40-50 mph.
posted by carter at 7:56 PM on December 31, 2011

Wife: "...that way we don't have to wash the bottles out."
Husband: "But we do, we do wash them though."

Could have been a great film. But they keep preaching all the way through. Liquor, smokes, jail, here's where it leads kids. They even got the guys to repeat all the rational things they've heard other people say about them.

Take it back to the shop, edit out the preaching, bring it back next year. Rinse and repeat. But no. No, because then the NFB couldn't justify their sanction.
posted by Twang at 8:15 PM on December 31, 2011

I am looking forward to watching this. When I was a teenage miscreant, once in a while we used to steal grocery carts and ride down hills in them; the goal was to get your friends to crash while you coasted to a gentle stop, though things didn't usually work out so smoothly.
posted by Forktine at 9:24 PM on December 31, 2011

Liquor, smokes, jail, here's where it leads kids.

What, you think the binners themselves don't acknowledge their own mistakes? Talking about Al and Fergie as though they are easily-manipulated children who the film maker "even repeat all the rational things they've heard other people say about them" is pretty lame. I talk to guys like these all day long and they are not idiots. Maybe take that back to the shop.
posted by moneyjane at 9:28 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]

This was one of the best things I've seen in a long time! Thanks for posting!
posted by Jesse Hughson at 11:09 PM on December 31, 2011

Don't know from the NFB or anything else about this documentary except to say that I really liked it. I thought it was more about the filmmaker learning about himself and learning to trust again after his accident, hence the trust scene at the end with Siple in the cart trusting cart man with his life essentially than about can people.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:20 AM on January 1, 2012

The wealth disparity in Vancouver is staggering (no more so than in North / West Vancouver where this was filmed)

Is it really wealth disparity that's the issue here? There's a whole lot going on in the world of binners - mental illness and drug/alcohol addiction for one thing, the enduring legacy of "Skid Road" and a place where you used to be able to rely on your brawn rather than your brain to earn a living. Vancouver is also about as far west as you can go without drowning. A stratified society like there exists in the Lower Mainland is just part of the "problem".
posted by KokuRyu at 1:18 AM on January 1, 2012

Pretty awesome documentary, too. I love learning about how other people actually live and experience life.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:16 AM on January 1, 2012

Awesome film. Intelligent, compassionate and riveting. Thanks for the link.

(For the Canadians amongst us:

What kind of alcohol is a "bottle of Goof"? My Google attempts have failed miserably.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:15 AM on January 1, 2012

I only know the term from the movie. I understood goof to be the same as alcohol.
posted by llc at 7:53 PM on January 1, 2012

My boss did a fairly innovative house with/for Murray, so he could be fully independent. Murray's an interesting guy.
posted by rmc at 9:31 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Thank you for posting this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:00 PM on January 18, 2012

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