Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ariela on FOR AHKEEM (2017) Tribeca 2017

For Akheem is a documentary about 17 year old African American Daje who lives with her mother in not the best area of St. Louis where people around her age are getting killed regularly and she worries about being next. (She mentions a bullet wound in her stomach at one point but we don't know the circumstances to how she got it.) She gets kicked out of school and has to go to an alternative school. for kids who frequently get into fights and have problems. Her mom wants to see her graduate and encourages her to do well, telling her there's a whole other world out there that she's not even aware of and she can be whomever she wants to be. Teachers and staff in school are also encouraging and try to help her. She has a boyfriend who doesn't go to school or work and spends his time smoking pot and also worrying about being the next victim to being killed. She is having a hard time doing the "right" thing, struggling to get a diploma and even winds up getting pregnant. Missouri has the highest rate in the country of African American students being kicked out of school.

The story is a sad one, and not that unique to what we hear and see in the news. The documentary takes place around the time of the Ferguson trial. I felt myself at times feeling hopeful for Daje and other times feeling pessimistic. I found the documentary a bit slow/long, but I liked it overall.

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