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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Tea and Sympathy on the Lower East Side

8/10
Author: Havan_IronOak from NYC/FL
4 February 2003

An achingly clueless young man gets his first kiss from a slightly older slightly wiser girl. Young and inarticulate teens on NYC's lower east side struggle with those first stirrings of desire. They are almost entirely clueless but desperate to appear experienced and cool to each other.

It's fascinating how their studied attitudes get in the way of the affection that they all so clearly need and want.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Excellent, natural short that looks at the line between childhood and sexual awakening

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
12 September 2002

Victor lives in New York and is on the edge of puberty, trying to show off his body. A visit to a pool with his friend reveals him to be pretty bad with girls. However one girl sticks in his mind and he sets out to find her in her neighbourhood. When there he experiences not only being a child again but also makes the crossover into being more a man than a child.

This short film has now been developed into a feature with pretty much the same core cast called `Long Way Home'. I haven't seen it as of yet but on the basis of this short I almost certainly will try and hunt it down at some point. The story is basically a day in the life of Victor as he goes downtown (or uptown!?) to see Amanda having fallen for her after meeting her at the pool.

However this basic story has got two very good things going for it. First of all it is all a very clever way of showing that age of crossover from child to teenager/young man. Victor is shown flexing, but also being very shy around girls. His actual crossover is well short as `the boy with the bat' is rejected as his playmate in favour of another, more enjoyable, pursuit. This runs throughout but is done well and without it being forced down our throats like we were thick!

Secondly it's very natural and enjoyable. The shots are all in the street and you get a really good sense of place and atmosphere. This is greatly added to by a superb cast who don't really have to try to be real, because they are. They never feel like they are acting and I bought into the characters from the very start. Rasuk is superb and carries his role off really well – wavering between man and boy with little looks and uncertain dialogue. Santiago's character is a little less clear but he does well. In the feature I hope they expand on who he is a little rather than having him as a catalyst without explanation. Marte is good as Amanda and Vazguez is funny as Victor's friend.

Overall this feels very natural and is very enjoyable as a result. A very clear journey between childhood and sexual awakenings that is free of heavy symbolism and never once tires to be arty or pretentious. I eagerly await the feature on the basis of this short.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Some great stuff but...

7/10
Author: camachoborracho from Los Angeles, CA
10 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Couldn't really believe it. Maybe it's because I know at the end she'll be another preteen mom but it's nice to pretend otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, there are some seriously good performances at the end in which Victor is incredibly awkward with Amanda as he prepares to kiss her even though he's been with "a lot of girls" but finds himself caught in his own machismo lies. There are some great lines though, in particular "Probably out of every 10 guys you know like 2 percent aren't dogs" - that must have been improvisation like a lot of this movie since it seemed so natural which is why a lot of this film works.

Actually I thought Amanda was the strongest and most engaging character who knows what she wants and gets it (she makes Victor watch as she pees, she kisses Victor, she decides she doesn't want a boyfriend and calls Victor on his lies). Oh and the music is pretty good too - I loved when Victor & the black drum player were having a little competition on the street.

I can relate to this as a Hispanic myself who has worked with a lot of inner city children. I know that there are kids like this, especially the ones who hit each other with things to get attention then are suddenly your best friend. Ditto with girls dressing slutty at the ripe age of 10 and boyfriends already having sex with many girls. Among other things. That's why despite the great acting and feel of the movie, its cute ending made me think well now they're going to have sex and she'll be another unwed mother when she had so much potential. On that note I do want to see Raising Victor Vargas.

Pretty engaging short film and worth a watch.

7/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Official Selection 53rd CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

8/10
Author: Evita-5 from New York City
26 April 2000

FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING has been named an Official Selection of the 53rd Cannes International Film Festival. The twenty-nine minute short, from writer/director Peter Sollett and producer/editor Eva Vives will screen in Cannes' Cinefoundation Section, May 17th-19th, 2000.

FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival where it received the Best Short Film award. The film is currently continuing its run on the festival circuit and has already earned top prizes at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Aspen Shorts Fest and New York University's First Run Film Festival. Most recent screenings include The Museum of Modern Art's New Directors/New Films series and PS 2000, a short film series hosted by Anthology Film Archives in New York.

The film chronicles the sexual awakening of a twelve year-old boy growing up on New York City's Lower East Side. Utilizing non-professional actors FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING takes a cinema verité inspired look at sexual innocence and discovery.

Belgian producer/director Luc Dardenne, last year's winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or for his film 'Rosetta' will head this year's Cinefoundation jury. Inheriting the position from Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Thomas Vinterberg, Dardenne will preside over a jury including Oscar winner Mira Sorvino and directors Francesca Comencini, Claire Denis and Abderrahmane Sissako. The Cannes Cinefoundation section showcases first-time and student films.

Peter Sollett and Eva Vives will be in attendance at Cannes.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

a well-deserved winner

5/10
Author: sebastian_valmont
17 August 2000

I saw this awesome film and Sundance where it deservedly won the grand prize. To describe it as raw would be to belittle it, the skilled filmmaking is so perceptive, and the performances so natural, it's breathtaking.

sv

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