14, Penelope Buitenhuis got her first job selling popcorn
at the Hollywood cinema on Toronto's Yonge Street. Last
week, now a 34-year-old movie director she was back on
Yonge Street, shooting a drama about street prostitution
called Boulevard. A $2.7 million Canadian production,
it is small by Hollywood standards. But in Buitenhuis's
words it is "a reallv big break." She spent the past
nine years based in Berlin where she made her first feature, Trouble about
the fall of the Berlin Wall-for just $150.000. In Boulevard,
her cast includes Lou Diamond Phillips and Vancouver-born
actor Rae Dawn Chong, who also wrote the screenplay.
Phillips plays a cruel pimp, and Chong plays an experienced
prostitute who takes a young neophyte (Kari Wuhrer) under
her wing "This is a woman's movie," Buitenhuis said. "Being
a hooker is a metaphor for the powerlessness of all women
who have been wounded or abused." During filming on Yonge
Street, however, several men confused the metaphor for
the real thing-and tried to pick up some of the cast.
A case of art imitating life a little too closely.