directed by Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas
The town of Pahokee resides in the not so glamorous part of glamorous Palm Beach County. They grow sugar cane and vegetables and poverty; this inland area is flat and fertile but prone to Lake Okeechobee sloshing out of its basin and drowning people during storms. In this unnarrated documentary we meet the kids and hopes of a town married to poverty. You either work for Big Sugar or you work for yourself, and margins are thin. Football and college might get you out, and we follow a high school full of hopeful and energetic teens as the hold a prom, win a football game and fill out college applications. They do have nice outfits for prom, and the team make it to the state finals with trip to exotic Orlando, Florida. But random shootings and bad paperwork make escape tough. As one girl mourns “everything is so hard.”
As in a real life, we are left guessing as to what happened. With no narration, we speculate as to the why’s and wherefores of life in Pahokee. The shooting in a park is inexplicable – why, who? What was the beef? How did it end? The white cops don’t explain much, and we only see them at a distance. I think they might have offered another angle to this small-town tale. The football team lost the title on a technically, but the daughter of a local taco stand might make it to UCF. It only took her family three generation to get there. Beautifully shot, cleverly edited, but inexplicable on many levels, this doc needs love but only disappears into the crowd at the end of the evening.
This film was presented as part of the 2019 Florida Film Festival sponsored by the Enzian Theater in Maitland, FL.