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Life’s Poison cover image

Life’s Poison 2011


Distributed by Scenarios USA, 80 Hanson Place, Suite 305, Brooklyn, NY 11217; 718-230-5125
Produced by Debbie Stratis
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee
DVD, color, 19 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Adolescents, Social Issues, Parenting, Communication, Social Work

Date Entered: 06/27/2011

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Scenarios USA uses filmmaking to advance youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression in under-served teens. Scenarios USA asks teens to write about the issues that shape their lives for the annual "What's the REAL DEAL?" writing contest. The winning writers are united with some of Hollywood's finest filmmakers to convert their stories into award-winning short films.

In Life’s Poison, 18 year old Eliyah Howard, and African-American teen thinks he knows what it means to be a real man. The viewer sees a young man broken emotionally where his feelings have been buried under a ton of abuse by his father not only to him but to his mother as well. As a result, Eliyah becomes an “ice man,” a man who conceals his feelings to everyone—even those who want to get close to him to know him better. It becomes clear to the viewer that the most important property of humanity is the capacity to form and maintain relationships. Eliyah has none. These relationships are absolutely necessary for any of us to survive, learn, work, love, and procreate. Several people attempt to connect to Eliyah only to be rebuffed. Human relationships take many forms but the most intense, most pleasurable and most painful are those relationships with family, friends and loved ones. Eliyah has experienced the most painful relationship for any child growing up in an abusive home. In the end Eliyah comes to realize the horror of his ordeal and attempts to reach out to those who can help him re-evaluate his concept of what a “man really is.” Life’s Poison poignantly illustrates that within our individual and collective inner circle of intimate relationships, we are bonded to each other with "emotional glue"—bonded with love.