so about midway through the summer Shey and I finally got our act together and signed up with netflix. i must say, i don't know what anyone is thinking by continuing to rent movies from blockbuster (or insert other lame movie rental store here: ) netflix is a wonderful collection of movies, documentaries, educational films (Shey is a teacher), and tv shows. it has been awesome, besides a slight detour through cape cod with dawson and crew this summer, Shey and i have been chewing up movies and especially some great documentaries lately.
two documentaries that i would highly recommend are: Born into Brothels and Boys of Baraka
Born into Brothels is a look into the lives of children growing up in the red-light district in Calcutta, as they struggle to get an education, find a way out, and find hope for the day-to-day. One of the ways that Zana Brinski (who is living in the red-light district among the families) attempts to help these children find a voice is by giving them a camera, and helping them to take pictures. In taking pictures of their families, their homes, their cities, their simple and yet complex beauty, these students find their voices amongst the terrible noise that surrounds them.
Similar to Born into Brothels is Boys of Baraka, a story about African-American male middle school students living in Baltimore that are fighting against the odds that 76% of them will not graduate high school (this is from 2004). In both humor and harsh reality, we are able to catch a glimpse into the lives of a few middle school boys trying to break the cycle of disadvantage, poverty, sin, racism, and brokenness in their neighborhoods. I laughed and cried a good bit in this movie. To be honest, it is the first movie in a while that shook me up and made me ask some hard questions about God and life... (e.g. How could God possibly have predetermined a life for these boys born into such a crappy environment and situation?, What are some of the systemic changes that need to take place to reverse this statistic?, How the heck is this going on only an hour and a half from my house?)
and the last movie i'd highly recommend of late is Bamboozled. I saw this movie in college when I was taking a class called "Major Black Authors" (which was supposed to be taught by an African-American woman, who left shortly before school was to start, and thus class was taught by some random 30-something white dude from UVA) at JMU. (On a side note, the professor for this class used to talk with his eyes closed/fluttering in rapid and stumbling phrases, for 2 1/2 hours at a time.) This movie helps us to take a look at some of the systemic racial sins that pervade the media, stereotypes, history, and current perspectives. This movie is bringing more Spike Lee movies to the Hayden's house in the coming weeks...