Wednesday, June 3, 2015

EVERY LAST CHILD opens today and is worth your time.

Pakistan is one of three countries in the world left with a polio problem and it has 80% of the cases. In 2012 the Pakistani Taliban issued a ban on the vaccination program and with in two years the disease spun wildly out of control. The strain spread to the Middle East and China. We watch as aid workers deliver the vaccine while in World Health Organization headquarters deal with news of some of their men are killed and their supplies are stolen. We also watch the human cost of the disease itself.

I saw EVERY LAST CHILD last year at Doc NYC and I was mixed about it. My feelings for the film in November boiled down to two things:

First I was (and kind of still am) burnt out on films on children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. While there are a real glut of films focusing on the problems of children in the region and since I and Unseen gravitate toward independent or small scale films a good number of the films cross our screens. Some are good, some are bad and some are middle of the road. While I know these stories have to be told I still wish the same stories weren't being told and retold so often. When I saw the film the first time I was at the point of needing it to knock my socks off otherwise I wasn't going to like it.

The other problem I had with the film was that the presentation is incredibly slick. The film plays like a suspense thriller and not a documentary.  When I saw the film the first time I was wondering if what I was seeing was staged or real. The slickness and presentation turned me off. I wrote up the film and walked away, done with having to deal with it.

When the release of the film came up I was contacted by the PR people who asked me if I wanted to cover it. I said I had seen it but wasn't thrilled with it. They then asked me to try it again. I hesitated and then said yes.

Having seen the film a again I find I'm still not in love with the film, the similarity to a few other films both in the past and upcoming has me still tired of similar subjects, but at the same time the slickness didn't bother me as much. Is the thriller like presentation a detriment? I don't think so. Actually I kind of think that without it the film would end up lost in the blue somewhere.

To be one hundred percent fair on it's own terms, and away from similar films, this is a very good little film. This is a film that clearly explains whats at stake and why something needs to be done to stop the spread of a disease that should be long gone from the world.   Because of the story that the film reveals this is a very important film. If you care about the children of the world you should make an effort to give the film a shot.

The film is currently playing at the IFC Center in New York and it will play in LA starting June 12

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