A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to participate in the San Diego Reader‘s “Seen on DVD” section. Every week, they (meaning Beth Accomando) curate a group of people and ask them to recommend films out on DVD.
Skins — Set on a Native-American reservation in South Dakota, the local Sioux police officer oversteps his official capacity and turns vigilante to try and solve problems in the community. His drunken brother mistakenly gets hurt as the officer burns down a liquor store.
Children of Heaven (Bacheha-Ye aseman) — An Iranian boy accidentally loses his sister’s only pair of shoes. The two share one pair, trading behind their parents’ back so both can continue to go to school. A foot-race competition offers hope — a pair of shoes for third prize.
Quinceañera — The pastor’s daughter finds herself pregnant, living with a great-uncle and gay cousin just months before her 15th birthday. The heart of each film is filled with strong family bonds that overcome the darkest tunnels.
I picked these three because they all deal with the family relationships. Of the three, Children of Heaven is the best film (in all senses), but the other two give glimpses of American life that don’t tend to be thought of as mainstream. If you haven’t seen them, obviously I’m recommending them. They’re not cinematic masterpieces, but worth watching based on cultural merits.