I admire, honour, and cherish the work of documentary filmmakers like Tracy Droz Tragos, who was on Jon Stewart’s show a few weeks ago speaking about her film Rich Hill. Ken and I saw it this afternoon at the Bloor, a stunning, unforgettable piece of work, and afterwards Ken said, This film puts me beyond tears.
Rich Hill is a very small town in Missouri; the film delves deeply into the lives of three boys from the wrong, the very wrong side of its tracks. The filmmakers know the town and so were trusted, entered and followed these boy’s lives, their families, schools, after hours activities. The boys live in extremely difficult situations – parents feckless, mentally and/or physically ill, hopeless dreamers, in prison, and one mother abusive and lost, her son and his siblings living in appalling filth – and yet, always, there are moments of tenderness and love. Everyone smokes and seems to live on pop and to have not a single practical coping skill. While the boys struggle to get an education, eat and survive, America celebrates itself with 4th of July fireworks and parades. The film is not self-righteous or exploitive; it’s a generous, heartbreakingly honest view of America’s invisible poor. Highly recommended.
Afterwards, when I got on my bike, I realized it was 5.40 p.m., the liquor stores close on Sunday at 6, and I had no wine at home, not a drop. Could I survive? Yes, I said to myself. One evening without wine will be good for me. But it just happened that I rode fast and got to the Loblaws at Carlton and Church at 5.56, and managed to speed up to the liquor store and get two bottles of wine one minute before they closed.
I’m not an alcoholic, no no no, as Amy Winehouse might have said. But I sure do like my wine. Particularly after a harrowingly moving film on one of the most beautiful nights of the summer. This summer which is nearly over, already. Incomprehensibly.