If you have something against black-and-white or silent movies, then no amount of effusive praise from me will convince you to see Sidewalk Stories. But you’d be missing out on a magical experience. With the sensibility of the Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character and the modern wit of The Artist (twenty years prior, I might add), Sidewalk Stories tells the story of a homeless man (Charles Lane, also the film’s director) who finds himself in possession of a child after he witnesses the stabbing of her father. Like City Lights before it, Sidewalk Stories finds the right tone to present a realistic experience of life on the streets while still making you laugh in every scene. The significant difference in this film is that nearly every major player is black, telling the kind of story that the movies of the silent era never deigned worthy.
Quicker take: It’s a 1989 movie, but it’ll still be one of the best silent movies you’ll ever see.