SCREENED AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL, WORLD PREMIERE
the best film (documentary) i saw at the SXSW film festival. co-directed by beesley (okie noodling, fearless freaks) and sarah price (yes men, american movie) this documentary follows the goings on at a three week nature camp. the real genius of the film is the material and the way it’s edited. in a way, the film functions as an extended version of “kids say the darndest things.” there are 99 children at the camp and about 10 are profiled in the film. i think that that the film succeeds because we get to see the kids in a way most films miss. these kids are real individuals. some of them are unfocused and obnoxious, others are precocious and sweet, others are mysterious and all of them are reflections of society and remind us of our own childhood. issues of family, medication, isolation, conflict resolution, etc. are raised.
the editing holds the storylines together well, has a balanced tempo, has a good balance of comedy and drama, and keeps pace and time well with shots of exteriors. the final shot of a dog under the shade of a trailer is particularly telling. as the camp closes a truck pulls the trailer away and the dog is exposed to the sun symbolizing the return of the kids to the non-camp world. as someone who has done that several times i completely understood that feeling. it’s a great film that needs to be felt to be really appreciated, but it certainly gets that other part of the brain working as well. well worth checking out.