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Archive for Monday, January 29, 2001

Documentaries stand out at Sundance Film Festival

January 29, 2001

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There were 16 documentaries in competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival, plus a handful of others out of competition. Here are a few of the highlights:

"Go Tigers!" (directed by Kenneth A. Carlson) A year in the life of the Massillon High School football team in Massillon, Ohio. Carlson is a Massillon native, and his great access made for a fine film. Vivid atmosphere and a solid narrative, enhanced by the urgency of a levy vote that threatens to force harsh cutbacks in the Massillon school district. In other words, win or else.

"Startup.com" (directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim) The rise and fall of a startup dot.com venture, from the camaraderie to the cutthroat. Some of the story specs could be clearer, but it's engaging and watchable.

"Raw Deal" (directed by Billy Corben) The 22-year-old Corben goes inside a disturbing and controversial rape case on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. Graphic, in-your-face, a bit long but hard to shake.

"Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton" (directed by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson and Albert Maysles) This chilling look at poverty in the Mississippi Delta explores the legacy of slavery and racism in the South through the eyes of a determined matriarch. Inspirational at times, tragic at others, always powerful.

"Children Underground" (directed by Edet Belzberg) Belzberg ventured through the subways and sewers of Romania to follow homeless kids in a highly unstable world. Devastating and tough to watch, but also extremely brave and important.

"Scratch" (directed by Doug Pray) Pray, who chronicled the Seattle grunge movement in 1996's "Hype!," turns his attention to the history of the hip-hop deejay. A must-see for hip-hop fans or curious outsiders.

The Sundance Film Festival ended Sunday.

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