Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

USA, 1991, 81 min

Shown in 1992


Lech Kowalski
Lech Kowalski
Doran Schlair
Lech Kowalski


gga award
Best of Category, Film & Video: Current Events


Lech Kowalski in person.
Rock Soup

Rock Soup is a lyrical, hard look at the struggles of a homeless community in New York's Lower East Side. The film covers the spring of 1988 at Tompkin Square Park’s Rainbow Soup Kitchen and a subsequent public hearing concerning a housing project for the elderly the city and developers want to build in the “vacant” lot where the kitchen survives. Quotidian moments of engagement (“I don’t see my situation as hopeless... l have skills. This is just the lowpoint of my life.”) mix with the gritty day-to-day commitment of the kitchen's workers, supporters and customers, climaxing at the hearing where the homeless and the local residents are pitted against one another as the developers and city planners listen with barely masked disinterest. Shooting in stunning black-and-white and accompanied by saxophonist Chico Freeman’s jazzy score (recorded in the park), director Lech Kowalski has created an aesthetically moving, politically articulate document. Rock Soup is a testament to a thriving community realized through the ancient tradition of the soup kitchen and the searing, ongoing oppression of the “temporary” as a condition of what it is to live homeless and disenfranchised in contemporary urban America. Today in that location there is no kitchen or housing, but there are many more vacant lots filled with hungry people.

—Thyrza Nichols Goodeve