Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Almost Holy (aka Crocodile Grennadiy) (2015)
Almost Holy has been on my must see list for the past year. I had hoped to see the film at Tribeca last year when it world premiered but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule. I know several of the other writers at Unseen saw the film and liked it, but with the crush of other films it never got written up. I’m fine with that because not only does it save you from reading a retread piece it allowed me to see the film.
This is the story of Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko who after the fall of the Soviet Union and the creation of the independent nation of the Ukraine started the Pilgrim—to look after troubled kids who were messed up on drugs and living on the streets. Looking to give the kids a safe environment and working to turn the kids around Gennadiy looked to catch the kids who fall between the huge cracks left by the piss poor social services in the Ukraine (the police don’t care and the child welfare services are a joke). Gennadiy tactics have made him both a hero and a villain in Ukraine where he often goes around or breaks the law (he will forcibly pull kids off the street) to make sure kids are safe. We watch as he goes through his days, interacts with the kids and deals with the changing political landscape in a country coveted by Russia and it’s oligarchs.
A very good look at a man trying to make a difference ALMOST HOLY is the sort of film that makes you wonder how some of Gennadiy tactics would work here in the US. Clearly we have a similar problem here, but Gennadiy ability to grab kids and beat up the bad guys who prey on them would be frowned up here in the us.
The best part of the film are the moments where Gennadiy interacts with the kids. We see how he really is making a difference. I love when he tells us what is what. He is a great speaker and its clear how he has won himself a good number of supporters.
For me there isn’t quite enough of that. What there is a great deal of is of news footage from around the globe spelling out Gennadiy's life. While it’s a great way to assemble the entire story from contemporary sources, it kind of grows wearing. My interest began to flag after the first half hour. I wanted to say “enough”. While it doesn’t kill the film is makes what should have been and excellent one a very good one.
Definitely worth a look.