Wednesday Films

OT: Our Town (USA, 2002, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, director): What happens when Dominguez High School in Compton, California decides to put on a school play for the first time in twenty years? This documentary reveals all. This is an experience so genuine and thrilling, so full of real characters and real drama, that you’d think it would be a dramatic feature (ie. a made-up story). Despite less than perfect video and sound quality, this impeccably-edited documentary pulls us into the lives of a group of talented, creative high school students in a place mostly known for “gangsta rap.” 9/10

A Peck On The Cheek (India, 2002, Mani Ratnam, director): This is the first Indian film I’ve seen in the Tamil language, and while it does share some similarities with other Indian films (wonderful music and choreography, sweeping storyline), the director attempts more than just to entertain. The film tells the story of Amudha, a precocious nine-year old whose parents reveal to her that she was adopted, thus beginning an odyssey that takes them all from India to war-torn Sri Lanka. Gorgeous visuals mix with horrifying scenes of violence expressly to make a point, though it is a simplistic one. Amudha is played by P.S. Keerthana, and she is one of the few child actors I’ve seen who can be precocious and yet not annoying. Her charm and beauty held the film together. 9/10

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