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Video: Restored Short Film Looks At The Vice Lords In Their Infancy

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 3, 2014 3:30PM

The more things change the more they stay the same. The West side has long been a haven for street gangs and the violence that accompanies being in them. A restored short film released by Chicago Film Archives this week shows the problem stretches back decades.

The Corner is a 26-minute 1963 short documentary filmed by Robert Ford that provides an unprecedented look at the Vice Lords at a time when they were starting to become one of the largest street gangs in Chicago. What makes Ford’s film stand out is the voice-overs from various Vice Lord members, almost all of them still in their teens. The members who spoke with Ford for the film provide unvarnished accounts of the street code that governs them and the braggadocio of inner city society.

Ford was a student at Northwestern University's Radio, Film and Television department. He recorded the voice-overs with the Vice Lords over a seven-month period, with most of the filming taking place at Lake and Homan in North Lawndale. The 16mm film was recently restored thanks to a grant from the National Preservation Foundation.

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