Monday, December 11, 2006
Each year twenty at-risk students are taken from Baltimore's catastrophic public school system and sent to rural Kenya where they get vigorous academic attention and rigorous discipline. The program works, turning the kids into hopeful, serious young men. Civil war, terrorism, and shaky Kenyan politics shut the program down after the featured line-up finish only their first year. How will they cope when they are plunged back into the mean streets?
Heard about this because the Mrs. works with Devon, one of the featured students, at a local school called ACCE. Straightforward, without artifice, The Boys of Baraka allows its subjects unscripted center stage. I'd recently sent a resume to Baltimore City Schools for a teaching job in their juvenile detention facilities. After seeing during this film what goes on in the classrooms of the non-secure public schools, however, I'm less certain I could deal with that mess. At the same time, I wish there was something I could do.
One question: Why are the kids' spoken parts captioned with subtitles? Their vernacular isn't that hard to follow.