OT: OUR TOWN Add To My Top 10

Content -1
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: January 01, 1970

Starring: Catherine Borek, Karen Greene, Ebony Starr Norwood Brown, Archie Posada, Armia Robinson, Jackie Oliver, Christopher Patterson, and Jose Perez

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Bruce
Donaldson OT: OUR TOWN is a
documentary about a teacher
and students that perform the
first live stage play at
Dominguez High School, in
notorious Compton, California,
in 20 years. Catherine Borek
is an English teacher. She
notices a regular cycle of
behavior every year leading up
to graduation: homecoming,
riots, prom, then graduation
ceremonies. The most important
program at the school is
basketball. In fact, one of
Dominguez High's young men was
drafted to the NBA immediately
after graduation. Borek
decides to try to add some
culture to the mix to see if
it might help those students
hopelessly trapped in the
cycle. The play she chooses is
OUR TOWN, written in the 1930s
by Thornton Wilder. The place
takes place in 1903. You may
have seen a version of it on
television with Hal Holbrook
and Robbie Benson. There are
clips from that particular
production interspersed
throughout the documentary to
introduce the various
teenagers and their own lives
and perceptions of their lives
in late 1998. Viewers are led
through the thoughts, lives,
and homes of many of the
children that make up Borek's
English classes and play cast.
The audience sees evidence of
the curses of child
abandonment, premarital sex,
fatherlessness (separate
physical and emotional
incidents), and gang violence.
They also see evidence of the
Christian faith of past
generations, determination to
stop the cyclical curses of
the "'hood," and hope built
through relationships and
camaraderie. As her students
begin to work through the
script, they fail to see how a
play concerning a 1903, rural,
all white farm town could ever
relate to them - 1998, urban,
minority, "gangland." Many of
them scoff at the outdated
language and customs. A few
threaten to drop out. As their
work progresses, they update
the language and some of the
settings. They begin to
realize that they are not so
different from the people in
the play. They have to deal
with the same issues and
emotions that all humans do.
Their town has the same kind
of characters and situations
as any other town throughout
time. Humans are humans no
matter where you go and no
matter what time you live in
history. As a quote from the
play says, "We are born, we
live, we love, and we
die." The question throughout
the film is, Will the students
be able to pull the play off
without a budget, a stage, and
the support of the rest of the
school? Will many of the cast
find the work emotionally
fulfilling enough to stick
with it? Will anyone come to
see the play? Will they
memorize their lines? Although
OT seems to exalt the arts as
Savior, there is a lot to be
said for the introduction of
cultural programs to our
youth. One of the teenages
explains that they had not
been involved in any little
groups, they knew no one,
their school mates were just
faces and names - they don't
like being around people. The
play helps them to unite with
a group of unique individuals
working toward a common goal
that, in the end, may mean
something to their own town's
people as they understand the
theme, or moral, of the play.
This is a very worthwhile
movie to see for both
teenagers and adults,
especially for those who have
given up on the youth of the
"inner-cities." These aren't
just the children of Compton,
California, they are our
children…Compton is OUR
TOWN. Please address your
comments to: Larry Meistrich,
CEO Film Movement 375 West
Broadway, 2nd Floor New York,
NY 10012 Phone:
1-866-YES-FILM Email:
[email protected] Website:
www.filmmovement.com

Rating: Not rated

Runtime: 76 minutes

Distributor: Film Movement

Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy

Executive Producer:

Producer:

Writer:

Address Comments To:

Content:

(H, C, V, LLL, M) Humanist worldview that makes the love and acceptance of good friends a "savior", and one of the student's mother makes comments about faith in the Lord; about 30 curse words [including seven "f" words and two "GDs"], teacher uses "lighter" curse words in front of children, one young man puts it simply, "F*** the world," and one of the more depressed boys mentions that he found the pain of his tongue piercing pleasing; girl says that her mother was a prostitute, dropped the girl off with a baby sitter and didn't come back, "but I am a normal person"; and, several stories of parental abandonment, one girl has learned from the abandonment incidents and swears that she is "hell-bent" on having a real dad for her children so she won't engage in premarital sex, boy speaks of being surrounded by suicide (his best friend gave up and hung himself), and other kids speak of choosing not to remember the murders and suicides.

GENRE: Documentary

H

C

LLL

M

V

Summary:

OT: OUR TOWN is a documentary about a teacher and her students that perform the first live stage play at Dominguez High School, in Compton, California, in 20 years. It is a humanistic story of how an arts program brings hope, discovery and transformation to a historically harsh environment, marred only by excessive language that would be cause for caution for younger teens.

Review:

OT: OUR TOWN is a documentary about a teacher and students that perform the first live stage play at Dominguez High School, in notorious Compton, California, in 20 years. Catherine Borek is an English teacher. She notices a regular cycle of behavior every year leading up to graduation: homecoming, riots, prom, then graduation ceremonies. The most important program at the school is basketball. In fact, one of Dominguez High's young men was drafted to the NBA immediately after graduation.

Borek decides to try to add some culture to the mix to see if it might help those students hopelessly trapped in the cycle. The play she chooses is OUR TOWN, written in the 1930s by Thornton Wilder. The place takes place in 1903. You may have seen a version of it on television with Hal Holbrook and Robbie Benson. There are clips from that particular production interspersed throughout the documentary to introduce the various teenagers and their own lives and perceptions of their lives in late 1998. Viewers are led through the thoughts, lives, and homes of many of the children that make up Borek's English classes and play cast. The audience sees evidence of the curses of child abandonment, premarital sex, fatherlessness (separate physical and emotional incidents), and gang violence. They also see evidence of the Christian faith of past generations, determination to stop the cyclical curses of the "'hood," and hope built through relationships and camaraderie.

As her students begin to work through the script, they fail to see how a play concerning a 1903, rural, all white farm town could ever relate to them - 1998, urban, minority, "gangland." Many of them scoff at the outdated language and customs. A few threaten to drop out. As their work progresses, they update the language and some of the settings. They begin to realize that they are not so different from the people in the play. They have to deal with the same issues and emotions that all humans do. Their town has the same kind of characters and situations as any other town throughout time. Humans are humans no matter where you go and no matter what time you live in history. As a quote from the play says, "We are born, we live, we love, and we die."

The question throughout the film is, Will the students be able to pull the play off without a budget, a stage, and the support of the rest of the school? Will many of the cast find the work emotionally fulfilling enough to stick with it? Will anyone come to see the play? Will they memorize their lines?

Although OT seems to exalt the arts as Savior, there is a lot to be said for the introduction of cultural programs to our youth. One of the teenages explains that they had not been involved in any little groups, they knew no one, their school mates were just faces and names - they don't like being around people. The play helps them to unite with a group of unique individuals working toward a common goal that, in the end, may mean something to their own town's people as they understand the theme, or moral, of the play. This is a very worthwhile movie to see for both teenagers and adults, especially for those who have given up on the youth of the "inner-cities." These aren't just the children of Compton, California, they are our children…Compton is OUR TOWN.

Please address your comments to:

Larry Meistrich, CEO

Film Movement

375 West Broadway, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10012

Phone: 1-866-YES-FILM

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.filmmovement.com

SUMMARY: OT: OUR TOWN is a documentary about a teacher and her students that perform the first live stage play at Dominguez High School, in Compton, California, in 20 years. It is a humanistic story of how an arts program brings hope, discovery and transformation to a historically harsh environment, marred only by excessive language that would be cause for caution for younger teens.

In Brief: