Monday, October 10, 2011

How To Save A Life

I wish there was a separate awards show for documentaries or a awards show for movies about important social issues.  I was truly disappointed when Waiting for Superman, about our broken public school system, was not even nominated for this past year's Oscar awards.  Maybe the powers that be really don't want sober reflections on the social ills plaguing America today.  It is my hope that the Academy does not overlook the new documentary The Interrupters a film which examines youth violence in Chicago inner-city neighborhoods.  The film specifically follows for a year the work of an organization called Cease Fire, a program which approaches violence as a public health and epidemiological matter, rather than just a purely social ill.  The organization's staff members are called "Violence Interrupters."  When they see fights or violent circumstances occurring, they "interrupt" the situation in the hope of mediating or talking  down the aggression in order save lives.  They also work directly with at-risk youth in various stages of the penal system in an effort to keep them out of trouble.  The documentary focuses on three Interrupters-- Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams, and Eddie Bocanegra, who all have a past history of violence and gang-life themselves.  Their work is not just a matter of "scaring people straight."  The Interrupters are intimate and confrontational in their assault in trying to make their charges see that violence is not the solution to their problems.  The movie is poignant and raw as you stand in awe of these courageous people who are in a real fight to keep our black and brown youth from killing each other.  Upon watching the movie, I was certain that God sends us warrior angels who walk among us in the flesh. Fortunately for the youth in their care, these angels don't give up.   If you care about our youth and the epidemic of violence that is desecrating our communities, then run, do not walk, to see this movie and take a young person with you.  It will be at Atlanta's Landmark Midtown Art Cinema until Thursday, October 13, 2011.

In the meantime, enjoy this Solomon Burke tune which is featured in the film's credits.


  1. Nice piece on 'The Interrupters'! I wish it was doing better at the box office, but hopefully it will nab a Best Documentary Oscar nomination.


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