As former President Barack Obama says at the end, "history doesn't follow a straight line. It zigs and zags. But the trend lines will ultimately be towards a less violent, more empathetic, more generous world." And so we hope. Need a good dose of humanitarianism, hope, and idealism? Come see this film.
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As a friend recalls, Beckey "had to leave a few burning bridges behind to live the lifestyle he wanted to live." Remember that a "dirtbag" is someone who is committed to a given (usually extreme) activity to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. It's the lifestyle that finds us unshowered and sunburnt, with ratty hair and unwashed clothes, yet doing exactly what we want, when we want, how we want.
Sami Blood, set in 1930s Sweden, depicts the challenges of the indigenous Sámi people rubbing up against the dominant Swedish culture. Teenage sisters Elle-Marja and Njenna are taken from their reindeer-breeding family and sent to a Sámi-only boarding school where they are subjected to locals’ taunts and the indignities of race-based physical examinations. While the younger Njenna clings to her cultural traditions, Elle-Marja realizes how deeply she is judged as inferior by the majority Swedes. Being bright and curious (and also attracted to handsome Swedish teens) she rejects her Sámi heritage and stakes out a future of her own. The story is told in one large flashback as the elderly Elle-Marja (who even changes her name to the Swedish, Christina) looks back on her life and the weight of her choices.
The new woman, the hero of the story, answers the phone and makes appointments. Then there is a lull. A disheveled, older white kid walks in, with a black backpack, and after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you go, "No. Not about this..." And your heart freezes or breaks, maybe cracks like ice. And sure enough the kid fumbles around in his backpack, you hear metal clinking against metal, and he pulls out a semi-automatic rifle, maybe even an AR-15, and you go, "How can I be watching this?!" Well, the sad truth is, this has become such a common occurrence in America, that it is now showing up in our films. Even our short films. Even our Oscar Nominated Short films. Such is the crisis.
We all have our biases, which goes a long way to explaining our world. Here's one of mine: as a White, middle-aged dude who's lived in Colorado nearly all his life, rap music doesn't exactly do it for me. Give me The Dead, Steely Dan, U2, Counting Crows, Dylan or Pearl Jam and I'm good. But rap music? No thank you. (Although Michael Franti and Spearhead go a long way for me, I don't think anyone would dare call that rap).
So, at last year's Sundance Film Festival, the film that everyone was talking about was Geremy Jasper's Patti Cake$. And wouldn't you know it, it was about rap music and a White woman from Jersey who was trying to bring her beats to life.
There you are minding your own business - walking down First Avenue in New York City when you happen upon a sight straight out of Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs... six look-alike boys, all dressed in Ray-Bans, black suits with white shirts, and skinny black ties.
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