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In 1983, Life magazine assigned photographer Mary Ellen Mark and writer Cheryl McCall to cover the youth homelessness problem in Seattle, a city chosen specifically because it had recently been named the country’s “most livable,” thus illustrating the hushed-up ubiquity of the epidemic. Soon after, Mark and her husband, director Martin Bell, were commissioned to make a film covering the same ground. The result was the brutal-but-beautiful Streetwise, a film full of thrilling vérité...

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