Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 13

It's all over but the blogging. So here's last Tuesday at Indiefest.

The first program was a short and a feature, starting with BROKEN CITY POETS. That broken city is Stockton, CA. And the poets are high school students, some living in the poorest, most crime-filled parts of the city, using poetry workshops to make sense of and hopefully improve their city. It was a joint project of the Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks, and the results were pretty moving.

Then ALL CONTAINED IN VOID, and intriguing and almost meditative look at 'Dead Zones' in California's road systems. The medians, the underpasses, etc. Mini-forests, or urban gardens, and the people who repurpose them into productive--or at least entertaining--spaces. It was fascinating and brief (just ~50 minutes, which is why it was paired with the short) and features a good mix of city planners, architects, engineers, and eccentrics, including John Law, member of the Cacophony Society and co-founder (now having nothing to do with it) of that thing in the desert.

And then, IS THIS THE REAL WORLD, which bothered me by not having a question mark in the title. But the rest of it was pretty good. It's the story of bright but troubled high-schooler Mark, making a clean start in a new school. His brother is a criminal, his mother is an alcoholic, and his grandmother is on her deathbed. And he's having trouble fitting in at school. One Aussie Rules Football scene is particularly brutal, and shows off his fatalistic determination and eventually wins him some friends. And it wins him the eye of a beautiful girl in school. Too bad she's the daughter of the overbearing principal, who takes things a little way too far in imposing "discipline" on him. It was a good story, beautifully shot, and takes its own pace to get where it's going--pausing to observe the little things like jumping a puddle on your bike (over and over again, biking is one of Mark's releases.) And the climactic scene is pretty powerful, despite all the foreshadowing that went into it.

Total Running Time: 169 minutes
My Total Minutes: 384,337
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