Documentaries: First Position, The Interrupters, Sicko

I’ve been on a bit of a documentary kick lately, and as per usual I am behind on my blogging duties.
So here is the rundown of my recent film escapades:
First Position
I used to take dance classes back in the day, so this documentary about young ballet company prospects competing for scholarships and basically a career that matches their passion was of interest to me. I heard about it through my weekly emails about the coming attractions and luckily found I could order it on cable. I do love going to the movie theater, but I couldn’t resist the film being right at my fingertips.
I don’t regret the one time purchase, but by the time the credits started playing I wanted a little bit more about the lives of the dancers profiled in the film and just a little bit less of them on screen in performance after performance and audition after audition.
Those were beautiful scenes and certainly telling of how hard it is to be a 9-year-old whose future career plans are contingent upon constant perfection, but there were just too many of them. The documentary focuses on six dancers from around the world with life stories that prove what they’re doing isn’t just handed to them. They are lucky to have supportive families, but many are really doing it on their own.
So overall I appreciated the subject of the film and the effort put into it, I just think it needed a little bit more focus.
The Interrupters 
This next one is a little heavy, but I still found it to be a must-see because of the subject matter. I’ve been covering a lot more crime than I have in my past news reporting jobs and I thought this documentary would shed some light on what I’ve seen and heard. In the end I don’t think it’s possible to fully understand crime and violence, but there is a group out there trying to do just that.
The Interrupters, working for the CeaseFire organization on the south side of Chicago, include ex-convicts and gang members who have turned their lives around to prevent the crimes they themselves once committed.
It was hard to watch at times because the film looks at the issue through conversations with people who are criminals, their families and the families and friends of the victims of their crimes.
CeaseFire’s interrupters have no fear and somehow are able to instill some rational thinking in the people who resort to violence to solve problems, even when they aren’t really problems. That problem, unfortunately, may never fully go away, but at least there is a face now to what is being done. I picked up this movie at the library and it’s also available online at the link above.
Last but not least, why not top off the series with a very comprehensive profile of health care in the United States and behind-the-scenes of a universal system in other countries? Fun stuff. I was surprised throughout Michael Moore’s documentary that he covered so many issues and interviewed so many people to exemplify the state of health care around the world. I don’t do politics, so whether you agree or disagree with Moore or any one of the people in the film’s views about how health care should be offered, I think the film effectively shows what the problem is and why.
Moore also sets an example of how documentary films should be made, no matter what the subject matter is.
I think I’ve had enough truth on film for the weekend, but my next documentary to watch is Food, Inc. I’m taking recommendations as well. Happy Sunday!


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