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Review: Documentary ‘Disco’d’ shows empathy for L.A. homeless in crisis

Two men make a small fire under the 101 Freeway in East Hollywood in the documentary “Disco’d.’
Two men make a small fire under the 101 Freeway in East Hollywood in the documentary “Disco’d.”
(SMMS Films)

There’s almost no score in director Matthew Siretta’s feature debut; instead his intimate documentary about homeless people in Los Angeles is set against the rattle of shopping carts and the white noise of L.A. traffic. While “Disco’d” is an unvarnished, moving look at the lives affected by the rising crisis of homelessness, it could have used a bit more polish and structure in telling these stories.

The film introduces itself by explaining its title: “Disco’d” is slang for a state of confusion or discombobulation. We meet each of its many subjects as they live on the street. Some speak to the camera with frankness, while others simply allow Siretta to observe their daily lives.

These are people who are usually ignored, both by society as a whole and the individuals who walk or drive by them every day. “Disco’d” offers compassion, but its haphazard construction doesn’t do them as much good as it could, particularly in its final moments.

It moves from switching between stories to focusing on a single one, while abruptly jumping forward in time. Some of its narratives aren’t given closure (understandable given the situations), but it still feels unfinished.

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“Disco’d” is free of commentary and judgment about its subjects, presenting these men’s and women’s lives with empathy. Siretta’s film does, however, condemn the government and societal systems that simply clean the street on schedule without a solution to the larger issues.

‘Disco’d’
Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Playing: Starts Nov. 8, Downtown Independent, Los Angeles


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