Friday, May 16, 2008

Felon Fest, Episode I (courtesy of Spout Blog)

by Steven Boone

A halfway house in East New York, Brooklyn. Spring, 2008. The male residents––ex-junkies, parolees and disability recipients––all gathered for their nightly movie ritual. Four to a room, two bunk beds, one cheapo DVD player and a 13-inch Coby TV set. Audio commentary provided by the audience of (on average) five men: two on the bunks, three hunched around the screen on milk crates. The core crew of film fanatics is Kid and Hef, two old-timer felons, each of whom could be mistaken for a black variation of Walter Brennan in Rio Bravo.

It’s a strange festival. Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, Hoodlum, Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion, The Bank Job, Why Did I Get Married?, Tsui Hark’s Vampire Hunters, and lots of TV-on-DVD: Annie Oakley, CSI, Boston Legal, ancient anime shows. No rhyme or reason in the selections, just whatever’s on hand from the $3 bootlegger or the public library.

But a festival theme emerges, a word hovering in the air unspoken during each screening: justice.

To read the rest, go to Spout Blog