SIFF Dispatch 3 – ‘Ain’t Scared’

More reviews from the Seattle International Film Festival now on GreenCine Daily.

Regardez moi From my decidedly distant perspective, Ain’t Scared, the debut feature from French director Audrey Estrougo has echoes of Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive (aka Games of Love and Chance) in its portrait of the Paris projects, or in French lingo, les cities, but has its own sensibility and its own vivid surprises. There is little sense of racial divide or tension as we watch the young men of these ghettoized suburbs filled with minorities, the poor and unemployed, a cultural mix of French-born citizens of African, Arab, white, Jewish, and Asian ancestry, talk and play and flick shit at another (race does come up in the insults, but it is equal opportunity and decidedly non-aggressive).

But halfway through the film, which surveys a day in the life of the neighborhood as their local hero, Jo, prepares to leave to play football for Arsenal in England, the whole thing begins again, this time from the perspective of two of the young women: Julie, the white girl, and Fatima, the angry black girl who moons over Jo. Suddenly race is front and center. “Whites and Blacks shouldn’t mix,” the black girls (which, by their definition, encompasses both African and Arab) state to the camera in a scene as confrontational as anything in Do the Right Thing.

I also review Nanette Burstein’s documentary American Teen and the world premieres of the documentary Creative Nature, the feature Garden Party and Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God, a concert/performance film of her one-woman show directed by the artist herself:

To be honest, the cinema is at its best when it’s invisible and we can get lost in her amazing, funny, serious and moving monologue about growing up Catholic and accepting the faith without really exploring it until a bout of adult Bible study and spiritual quest through the religions of the world has her questioning what she believes and why. For all the humor (and it’s very, very funny), it’s all about answering a simple question: “God, who are you?” – and feeling comfortable and secure in what she discovers.

Read the complete reviews here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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