Philadelphia Diary | 1999
Tells the story of ordinary people living in three different Philadelphia neighborhoods. Set during the 24-hour period between dawn of July 3 and dawn of July 4, the film weaves the different storylines together through the use of radio and television news reports and real-life preparations for Philadelphia's Independence Day celebration.
One of the three intertwined storylines focuses on the conflict between a mural artist named Lucy and several teenagers in West Philadelphia who keep defacing the neighborhood mural she's creating. Though Lucy's battle with lupus threatens her ability to complete the mural by July 4, she is determined to stay up all night and finish, not realizing that she is painting over the teenagers' memorial to a friend who was lost to violence. A confrontation ensues, but once the teenagers come to an understanding with Lucy, they work together until dawn to paint a new mural, one that beautifies the neighborhood and honors their friend.
In the same West Philadelphia neighborhood, Beverly Johnson, grandmother of one of the teenagers, must travel by bus and subway to North Philadelphia, where her daughter Ramona is drowning in drugs and unable to care for her children. Ramona blames her mother for discouraging her activism and thwarting her dreams. But for the first time in many years, they truly listen to each other and come to a quiet understanding. As night falls, Ramona agrees to let Beverly take the two children back to her home where they can begin to build a new life together.
On the other side of the city, Curt and Suze Kowalski have just moved into their South Philadelphia row home and are trying to get along with each other and their elderly next-door neighbor, Mickey, whose insistence on feeding neighborhood pigeons annoys train conductor Curt. Suze gets acquainted with Mickey and discovers that the former boxing star feeds the pigeons in memory of his late wife, who always fed pigeons in a nearby park. Though Mickey and Curt get into a fist-fight over the pigeon droppings, they eventually work out their differences, and Curt offers to escort Mickey on public transportation for the first time in his life so that he can visit the park.