East of Hope Street

on November 05, 1999 by Tim Cogshell
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   Cinematic labors of love are often produced in a state of myopia. This can result in brilliant portrayals of personal experiences couched in universal terms (a la "Sling Blade"), or overblown melancholy so specific to the situation that there's no place for an audience to hold on. "East of Hope Street" falls somewhere in between.
   The story is about a young girl's struggle through neglect, sexual abuse and nihilistic behavior that lands her in Juvenile Hall. There's an unintended pregnancy, rape, and the death of a loved friend. Alicia (Jade Herrera) is not unlike many poor Latinas; in fact, writers Nate Thomas and Tim Russ (the latter is "Star Trek: Voyager's" Mr. Tuvok) based their script on a true story. They got a lot out of their $100,000 budget, using the facilities at Cal State Northridge (where Thomas teaches cinema) to shoot much of the film. While the pathos is real, in the wake of similarly themed works ("Mi Vida Loca" for one) it often plays as trite.    Starring Jade Herrera, Roxanne Coyne, Asanio Lara, Greer Bohanon, Magda Rivera and Tim Russ. Directed by Nate Thomas. Written and produced by Nate Thomas and Tim Russ. A Cinema Guild Release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 93 min.
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