Full Frame reviews

Mar. 29, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

REVIEW: The fight to stop use of child soldiers


dvaughan@heraldsun.com; 919-419-6563

“Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children”

(5-7 p.m. April 5, Fletcher Hall at the Carolina Theatre. Film is 83 minutes, followed by Q&A.)

In “Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children,” filmmakers show a new perspective on the subject of child soldiers in war-torn African countries, focusing on a retired United Nations general who witnessed the genocide in Rwanda.

Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire was commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda in 1994, and now speaks out against the use of children as soldiers. He’ll be at the Full Frame screening for a post-show discussion.

“Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children” is based on Dallaire’s memoir. This is the North American premiere of the Canadian film directed by Patrick Reed. The film is shot in multiple countries with multiple child soldier perspectives, including a former child soldiers camp on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children” shows the worst of the worst, with the LRA in Uganda as well as the FDLR, who are from Rwanda and reformed in Congo.

The UN transition camp is especially interesting, letting audiences see the steps a teenage boy takes to go from an armed soldier in the bush to a young man seeking a different future. There are multiple interviews with soldier survivors and refugees as they talk about the impact of so much war. Dallaire listens as a fellow combat veteran and asks questions. Audiences also see his dealings with UN bureaucracy and what he sees as a long-range way of ending the use of child soldiers. “Any time below decades is a waste of rations,” Dallaire says in the film. For a full schedule, visit www.fullframefest.org.


REVIEW: Unconditionally loving kids


dvaughan@heraldsun.com; 919-419-6563

“Blood Brother”

(4:20-6:15 p.m. April 4, Fletcher Hall at the Carolina Theatre. Film is 93 minutes, followed by Q&A.)

“Blood Brother” is not just another documentary about a white guy who goes to a foreign country, meets poor people, and has his life changed. Director Steve Hoover films his best friend, Rocky, during a visit back home in the U.S. from India and goes back to India with his friend to understand why Rocky has been living there.

A trip that started off as a vacation and search for authenticity changes everything once he befriends the children at an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS. He treats them like equals. “Blood Brother” shows this isn’t about one guy who likes volunteering, but about how he finds the sense of family he didn’t have growing up. Rocky’s own childhood was, well, rocky, and he didn’t have a long-term stable family unit. At the home in India for children and women living – and sometimes dying – of AIDS, the family bonds are stronger.

Hoover shoots “Blood Brother” through the lens of a friend but the eye of a documentarian. There are moments of joy, but you’ll also need several tissues while watching this. You will want to befriend these kids, too. For a full schedule of films, visit www.fullframefest.org.

“The Pleasures of Being out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff”

By David L. Lewis (Screens at 4:20 p.m. April 5 in Cinema 4, Carolina Theatre)

If you listen to this American music called jazz, and have collected any recordings made in the last 50-some years, you own some Nat Hentoff liner notes by default. If you love the First Amendment, Hentoff has been one of its most staunch protectors. Lewis’ wonderful, and, yes, almost improvisational, documentary shows us how the two are inseparably linked in the work and mind of Hentoff. The same qualities that allowed him to open his ears to the modern musicians of the late 1940s and 1950s are the same that allow him to defend the free speech rights of those we find most vile in society. Lewis uses historical and news footage, and interviews with other music critics and musicians, to create an essay on freedom of expression, and freedom of thought.

--Cliff Bellamy, The Herald-Sun

“Good Ol’ Freda,”

By Ryan White (Screens at 2 p.m. April 5 in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre)

In 1961, at age 17, Freda Kelly did not know she was taking on what would be a dream job, secretary to The Beatles. In this documentary by Ryan White, Kelly, a Beatles fan from their Liverpool days, remembers that she always thought the band would be famous, but did not expect the worldwide song-writing phenomenon they became. Kelly was there for the full ride, running the band’s fan club and newsletter and handling other publicity matters before finally leaving the Beatles organization in 1972.

Kelly has never sought to capitalize on her association with the Beatles. White has produced a charming (and at times bittersweet) portrait of this woman who not only worked hard for the Beatles, but was loyal to a fault. “Good Ol’ Freda” is a delight for any Beatles fan, young or old.

--Cliff Bellamy, The Herald-Sun

“The Expedition to the End of the World”

By Daniel Dencik (Screens at 11 p.m. Thursday in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre)

If humans have a limited time on earth (in geological terms), then why does global warming matter? Would life for the earth be better if humans had remained hunters and gatherers? These and other philosophical-existential questions get debated in Daniel Dencik’s film about a group of scientists and artists who venture to Greenland on board a restored schooner. Their goal is pure exploration. One scientist is looking for new species of fish, another for marine micro-organisms, another evidence of civilization, others still a chance to see a polar bear.

The reality of global warming underlies this film as ice caps break up. This is an awesomely beautiful film, with moments of genuine suspense.

--Cliff Bellamy, The Herald-Sun