The Interrupters

November 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

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Far and away the best documentary I have seen this year.  The film covers one year in the life of poor African Americans and Latinos on the Chicago streets.  Specifically, it looks at a program called CeaseFire and their use of “interrupters.”  They perceive violence as an infection that must be stopped at the moment of transition.  So, they hired men and women who had been in gangs, who had sold drugs, violently attacked others and (in some cases) been murderers.  These folks, with all of their street cred., go out into dangerous neighborhoods and interrupt violence just before it is going to happen by literally getting between people and talking them down.  They put themselves at serious risk but really believe in what they are doing.   The film follows three of them closely and we get to know about them and about some of the people they intervene with.  The film is thought provoking and I had a longer conversation after this movie than I have any film in a while.  It is made by the folks who made “Hoop Dreams.”  It is much more intense than that film (you will find yourself moved deeply in parts) but I did not find it as upsetting, nor did it make me as emotionally exhausted or hopeless, as last years “Waiting for Superman.”

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