It’s December, which means we’re deep into award season–where the standard offerings might include family dramas you’ve seen before, but with a slight new flavor (Lady Bird) or the period drama your grandparents will rave about (Darkest Hour). None of these films will do anything inventive with the form because they’re like pizza – not fine dining, but you know what to expect regardless of where it comes from.
The Florida Project is the kid that steals that proverbial pizza, throws it on the ground, and asks if you want to go spit on cars.
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If you were to ask a teacher which film they hate the most, Dangerous Minds might be at the top of that list. The film’s oversimplification of reaching students makes any parent think they know what it’s like to be at the head of the classroom. By way of contrast, the documentary Waiting for ‘Superman’ could become a teacher’s favorite film–though it might depend on their own standing as a good or bad teacher–for the way the doc dives headfirst into the systemic issues of public education.
The film’s premise is that several children are waiting for their number to be called in a lottery, which will mean they get accepted into a “good” school. The trailer seems overly dramatic (more like a game show than anything in real life), but it turns out to be true. The problem is that if there are more applicants to charter schools than positions available, a public lottery must be held: names drawn at random receive their acceptance into one of these charter institutions (schools which receive public funding, but aren’t beholden to district rule). As the film lays out the failings of public schools and the costly nature of private education, charter schools come out looking like the DMZ of this educational battlefield. Continue reading →
Posted in Reviews
Tagged Capitalism, charter schools, creative documentary filmmaking, Documentary, Lottery, middle class, poverty, Public Education, social class, teacher's unions, Waiting for "Superman"
There is an oft-lamented dearth of strong female characters in cinema. Lt. Ripley and Sarah Connor are the characters that receive the most citation, but I’ll be damned if we can’t add Ree Dolly to the roster – this is not a girl to be trifled with. Continue reading →
Posted in Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmsmith Faves, Reviews
Tagged Appalachia, Cinema, Debra Granik, Documentary, Drama, Edinburgh International Film Festival, EIFF, female, feminism, Film, Jennifer Lawrence, Kentucky, Movie, patriarchy, poor, poverty, Ree Dolly, strong, strong female character, Sundance, Winter's Bone