"The only film in competition from Sundance that doesn't have US distribution." -Patrick Bresnan (director)
When it comes to capturing moments in the daily lives of select people in a community during a key period of their teenage years, this is a great fly on the wall documentary. It shows a reasonably well-rounded view of lower-/working-class Afro and Latinx rural America. A view that one would find difficult to discover on the news.
Pahokee was interesting, racially relevant, and somewhat nostalgic. Kinda had me wanting to move to back to an Afro-American community/city.
(significantly easier to read on my blog)
1) The contrast of student lives in school and adult lives in fields
2) Fashion photoshoot day
3) The drum off
4) How well the football games were presented, especially since I lack interest in the sport
5) Going from school to cheerleading to working at a "fried chicken store" on the same day
6) The consequences of having "hard working" parents
7) The Harvard recruiter
8) The Army recruiter
There are two back-to-back moments during prom night that had me wondering if there was any tension between the two racial groups.
While this is the directors' debut film, they've made three short films about Pahokee.
This is a surprisingly difficult documentary to find a representative photo for. If you search for one, you'll primarily see Afro-Americans, Latinx-Americans, football, cheerleading, prom, and fashion, but nothing that I feel accurately represents it or the four main people as a group (like a photo of them all together). It just gets into too much for me to feel okay with limiting it to any of those one topics. Fortunately, the website had a photo that encompassed both racial groups and the city's youth celebrating what I assume to be Día de Muertos (Day of the Living).
The more I follow the film's Facebook page, the more I feel like this film is special. After I saw Pahokee at the 42nd Denver Film Festival in early November, it traveled to Brazil, Poland, New York City, Germany, France, Austin, Key West, Portugal, and China.
If you're the type of person to meet someone from the lower-/working-class who is Afro-/Latinx-American and immediately assume stereotypes about them, do yourself and society a favor by watching this documentary.
The decision to capture the person keeping an eye out with a revolver alongside (who I assume to be) his peers squatting behind cars to avoid potential bullets and then dash over to the two mothers holding down three or four kids while someone repeatedly yells out "get down!", lay with them, and keep the camera focused on their shocked faces was just... excellent. Keep that camera person out of a warzone. Or don't. Might turn out to be another Marie Colvin from A Private War (2018).
About the Trailer:
Nevermind dat sweet transition 2/3rds through, it only starts kicking in the slight spoilers (à la ruining dem moments) at 01:16, so it's fairly safe to watch.
I attended the director Q&A during the 42nd Denver Film Festival immediately after watching the documentary.