The IF Project

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The If Project
Southern Circuit
Millsaps College
April 5, 2017 7:00 pm

The IF Project documents the collaborative project between Detective Kim Bogucki and the incarcerated women in Washington’s Correction Center for Women. The film followed four main women as they attempt the answer the question posed by Det. Bogucki: If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?

The film follows the incarcerated women and Det. Kim as they attempt to answer this questions. There are several situations of women who are serving their time and are release and their journey after that. There are clips of women sharing their experiences and the loss of humanity and identity within the prison system. Some women confess that they were not good people before they went to prison and are now on a path to redemption. One women admitted that she still feels guilty years after killing a woman and ending her chance to redeem herself. Through these stories, we get a glimpse into the lives of convicts.

Kathlyn Horan, the director of The IF Project, does an excellent job of capturing the raw emotion and humanity of the people who society has deemed monsters. Within the first minutes, I was emotional seeing the regret and guilt that many women openly shared and their hope for a second chance. Hearing their stories and their desire to break the cycle makes you realize the full humanity of criminals. Although we often outcast those who have killed others or see them as unredeemable, Horan and Bogucki attempt to change that and the system that allows this cycle to continue.

After the film, Bogucki suggested that this movie along with The 13th be shown to all police officers to “put a human face onto someone who has been incarcerated.” I agree with her. In addition to that, I think that this film should be shown to everyone. Although Orange is the New Black was a major breakthrough for seeing not only women, but women of color, and prisoners on the screen, it is still entertainment. It does not seek to share the reality of real female prisoners, it is meant to draw in viewers and entertain us. This would be a great contrast in that we do see those women suffering because of systemic issues and hopefully, it will call us all to help.

Mind/Game: Film Review

indexMind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (2015)
Southern Circuit
Millsaps College
February 8, 2017 7:00 pm

Mind/Game follows the life of Chamique Holdsclaw – a basketball player dubbed the “female Michael Jordan” – through her public and private battles with mental health. It tells of her childhood and her mentally ill parents who battled schizophrenia and alcoholism. From there, Chamique lived with her grandmother who emphasized the importance of education. To cope with the absence of her parents, Chamique battled it out on the court, using basketball as a form of therapy.

By her senior year, Chamique made a name for herself as one of the top high school athletes. Although she received many offers from different college, Chamique and her grandma decided that she should attend the University of Tennessee, a school known for its 100% graduation rate for basketball players.

Chamique reached a larger audience on the college court, but in her private life, she continued to cope with the loss of family members including her grandma. Although she tried to talk to a therapist, she decided that basketball was her best medicine and continued to use basketball as a coping mechanism.

Chamique continued to practice these habits well into her WNBA career. Eventually, her grief caught up with her as she attempted suicide to deal with the stress that she repressed. Although initially she was ashamed, she used this moment to speak out about mental health issues and to address the stigma associated with it in the black community.

Chamique continued to struggle with her illness leading her to leave the WNBA to focus on her mental health and her advocacy work. Although she managed to keep her mental health under control, she eventually experienced an episode that left her hurt: mentally, emotionally, and financially. Here, she received a new diagnosis, and today she continues to advocate for mental health, teaching children how to express their feelings and that it’s okay to feel.

Rick Goldsmith, the filmmaker, focuses on universal issues through personal stories. In Mind/Game he perfectly nails the Holdsclaw story while still telling the struggle of those dealing with mental health as well as the stigma associated with mental health in the black community. His documentary style includes using a lot of visuals and personal accounts to tell the story. He refrained from using copious amounts of music and allowed the people to tell their version of the stories without music persuading us about how to feel. He used news clippings, sports film, and news story to tell the life and story of Chamique Holdsclaw. Goldsmith’s approach to a documentary seems very “hands-off.” He provides the story and the personal accounts for the viewer without adding how we should act or feel, letting the characters speak for themselves.

I think this is a relevant movie for everyone as anyone could be dealing with mental health issues. This movie would be of great importance to the members of black community especially those who are unaware or are in disbelief concerning the mental health issues faced by those within the community.

Moos: Film Review

Moos (2016)
Jewish Film Festival
Malco Grandview, Madison MS
January 28,2017 7pm

 

Moos is a romantic comedy that follows a young woman through her many misadventures in life. The film opens on her singing while ironing clothes. It then cuts to her assisting her widowed father with mundane tasks such as clipping his nails as they prepare for a Hanukkah feast with their relatives. Before the dinner, Moos is reunited with her childhood best friend Sam who had been living in Israel for 15 years. After being the only one ignored during the Hanukkah toast, Moos announced that she would be auditioning for theatre school.

When she fails to get into theatre school, she tells her father and Sam that she did after overhearing her father voice his concern that her audition would be a brave failure. She instead works at the theatre school’s cafeteria, making friends with a guy who was accepted into the program. The voice teacher who showed interest in her at her audition, invited her to his house for one voice lesson after she helped him with his tire. She began to have relations with this teacher, not telling her father or Sam of him or her rejection from the program.

When her father and his new girlfriend decide to attend a public performance at the theatre school, they learn that Moos is not a student and is instead a cafeteria worker. Her voice teacher publicly denounced her, officially ending their “relationship.” After laying in the bed moping, Moos decides to mend her relationships with her father and Sam, who she had blamed for everything wrong in her life. Her father accepted, but Sam left and went back to Israel. Although saddened by her inability to apologize to Sam, Moos continued to live her life.

In the last moments, Daniel, a family friend, had his Bar Mitzvah. Sam showed up to support his friend during this nervous time.  Moos eventually got the chance to apologize to Sam after she mastered singing the song that resulted in her rejection from the theatre school. Moos decided to audition again, and this time she was accepted. Moos finally accepted this feelings that Sam had for her and the movie ended with the title “Sam and Moos”

Although the film started off slow with awkward cuts of Moos, the editing throughout the rest of film seemed continuous. I noticed that Jos Goshalk, decided to use music to drive the plot. Throughout most of the film, happy and upbeat music was used to show how fun everyday life was. In the sad moments, slower music played. It seemed as if music aided the storytelling because it moved the audience to feel what the director wanted.

Before the show one of the co-chairs of the film festival noted that the director called Moos, the story of everyday people living their everyday lives. That’s what it is. Although there were times when the terminology alienated the non-Jewish audience, it did not make the movie experience unwatchable. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was a fun movie with a cute character arc and narrative. Although it was a bit formulaic, it was a light-hearted film that had characters that even I as a non-Jewish non European woman could connect to. I would recommend this movie for anyone over the age of 18 as the movie does contain some graphic scenes. Moos is a fun way to spend a Saturday night.

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