The film «Tax for Homeless” by the Canadian director Igor Stephen Rados was shot back in 2003. In terms of content, this is a five-minute humorous sketch. On a structure, this is a full-fledged mini-play with a three-act structure. Despite the fact that the film tends to be a comedy genre, social and moral issues are also raised here.
The film’s plot consists of three parts. In the first part, we see Begger (Peter Block-Hansen), who is sitting on the street and begging. The majority of people pass by. But some of them decided to stop.
So, two passers-by stop near a homeless man: «Gentleman“ (Tim Kachurov) and ”Jerk» (David Viveiros). The second part of the film begins. Both men are arrogant and do not give money. However, the «Gentleman» leaves and the guy stays. He talks to a homeless person, but he has no intention of doing anything to help or show sympathy. On the contrary, he tries to humiliate the beggar. At this point, “Single Mom” (Irena Huljak) and her “Boyfriend” (Keith Fernandes) appear. The woman argues with «Jerk” and urges him to show empathy. But the guy is adamant. He does not give money to a beggar and he does not want other people to give it. He says he pays tax. Thus, he shifts the responsibility to the state. “Single Mom” and “Boyfriend” give alms to the “Begger” and go.
In the third part of the film, “Jerk» gives alms to a homeless old man. At this point, some of the audience may think that the guy has changed and become kinder. But he immediately takes his coins from the beggar and leaves. We can interpret this episode as follows. After «Single Mom” and «Boyfriend» showed compassion and humanity, he experienced a moral failure and tried to become good in his eyes. But his greed got the better of him. And he didn’t disdain to take the coins back. Thus, greed and other weaknesses can be covered with any words, but they will still have power over the person.
This short film is a cross between a parable and a sketch. We see the collective stereotypical images here. Characters are conditional generalized types of people, but their conflict is based on a real problem. The problem of the poor and homeless people is solved not only by the state but also by various non-profit organizations in many countries.
Thus, the characters of the film solve one question: do we need to help the beggar? We all pay taxes, including on social programs. Is this enough? The author of the film does not give a direct answer to this question. But the viewer will be able to conclude who is right and who is wrong.
The film was shot on an ordinary street. In addition to a few actors, we see real passers-by on the street. If the film was shot in a documentary style with long plans with ragged editing and non-professional actors, the film could be passed off as a reality show. It would be fun, but nothing more. The director proved that brevity is the sister of talent, as the Russian classic Anton Chekhov said. By the way, Chekhov wrote a lot of very short stories. And this film is close to Chekhov’s stories in spirit. However, this story could become one of the Bible’s parables. After all, this is essentially a variation on the parable of the good Samaritan.