by Kim Longinotto
Brenda is on a mission to disrupt the cycle of neglect, violence, and exploitation endured by girls and women in inner-city Chicago. On any given day, she's performing interventions with at-risk teenagers, female prisoners, and prostitutes on street corners. She uses unconditional love, non-judgmental support, practical help, whatever it takes for them to change their own lives. But the most powerful weapon in Brenda's healing arsenal is the raw honesty she can offer because she's been where they are. For 25 years, she survived as a drug-addicted prostitute, even recruiting innocents into the lifestyle and abandoning her own children.Using unobtrusive verite camera work that inhabits Brenda's miraculous perspective, master director Kim Longinotto follows intimate stories along Brenda's path. Child molestation, physical abuse, poverty, and silence are among the common denominators of their dire situations. Like a shining star in the darkness, Brenda appears, doing a dance and upending the paradigm: "Hold the rest of the world accountable for what's been done to you ... It's not your fault. It's not your fault."