‘La Vendedora de Rosas’ 1998

13-year-old Monica leads a street life, making her living by selling flowers to couples in local nightspots, she is joined by 10-year-old Andrea who runs out of her house after her mother beats her.

This is not a movie to entertain, it is meant to open the viewer’s eyes to the “invisible” world of homeless children in Latin America. This is more a documentary than a film but the plot, based loosely on Han Christian Anderson’s “The Match Stick Girl,” is strong and compelling. Painful to watch at times, it is meant to be disturbing. Which is why I can say it I liked it and I recommend it, even though it haunted me and robbed me of sleep and I don’t believe I will ever see it again.

These young people survive in the streets with no supervision and no one to provide for them, yet they are still going through the same tumultuous problems of the average teen; boyfriend-girlfriend troubles, gossip, friendship betrayal, and so on…and they cope with all their problems by sniffing glue. With the effects of the glue showing itself in these children one scene after the other it can seem to be too much as the plot begins to come together.

It is my understanding that the majority of the children were not actors but real street kids, and although the plot was scripted by the filmmaker the children were just being themselves, showing us a voyeuristic peek into their lives. And on a more disturbing note; none of these children have survived the street.

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