Lucky is an illegal immigrant from Ghana in New York. He lives in the Fashion District and earns his keep selling counterfeit goods to buyers and tourists. Lucky divides his free time between his girlfriend Karina and best friend Levon, a Lebanese-Armenian who sells pirate versions of major brands in the back of his shop. But his world is turned upside down by the arrival of a former girlfriend who literally thrusts a two year old into his arms, assuring him its his, and saying its time he assumes his responsibilities as a father. She then makes off without taking the time to give him the childs name or an address where she can be contacted. Performed by a largely non-professional cast, Prince of Broadway was filmed in less than thirty-five days in the shadow of the Flatiron Building, in the hurly-burly of Broadway. Director Sean Baker, who also doubles as cinematographer, keeps his hi-def camera close to his characters, giving the film a raw and rhythmic feel, urban guerrilla style. Taking on the cinéma-vérité tradition, and in the vein of Italian neo-realism from 1940-1950, the filmmaker succeeds in capturing the inherent despair and failure of poverty in the heart of a megalopolis overflowing with wealth. Indeed, Sean Baker films New York with both love and a clear-sighted awareness of the snares hidden beneath its promises. He does not hesitate to demystify the American dream, in all its indifference to the crushing of individuals. Exposing the life of immigrants in America, seeking familial, economic and social ideals that they rarely find, Prince of Broadway is both a brutal drama and tender comedy about a two-lane society, caught between hope and disillusion. –Locarno Film Festival
It's marginal characters and crude language may put you off at first, but these characters are fighting for their lives with nails, teeth and fists and it's that hunger for life that makes this film so compelling to watch. The primal emotions this film portrays so effortlessly is sometimes all that matters when it comes to making a movie.