RICH HILL ( doc, 2014)


DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (2014)

rich hill Greetings again from the darkness. Boo, Hiss to Poverty. Nobody likes poverty and it’s one of the more popular topics for political lip service. Poverty also happens to be a frequent topic of documentary filmmakers. A prize winner at Sundance, co-directors (and cousins) Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos brought their film to the Dallas International Film Festival.

The beautifully photographed film focuses on three adolescent boys living in poverty stricken Rich Hill, Missouri (population 1396). Andrew is a sweet, athletic likable kid living with a medicated mother and dreamer dad (who can’t keep a job, and sees no real need to try). Appachey is a chain-smoking, anger-riddled boy living in an out of control house. He struggles with authority and structure and freedom, and well everything else too. Harley is the oldest of the three boys and lives with his grandmother, while his mom is in prison after a committing a very violent and personal crime … one at the core of Harley’s behavior disorders.

If that last paragraph sounds depressing, you are both right and wrong. Somehow, despite the situations that these boys are in, there is always a flicker of … not really optimism, but at least hope. This is the way to learn about the effects of poverty. Personal stories about real people. Governmental statistics mean little, but the smile of Andrew means everything … even as his father moves the family once again. The interconnection of parenting, schooling and the judicial system is on full display here, as is the healthcare system and the importance of hope and attitude. You will feel for each of these boys, and be forced to wonder how to make things better.

watch the trailer:

 

 

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