A woman's life is derailed en route to a potentially lucrative summer job. When her car breaks down, and her dog is taken to the pound, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes ... See full summary »
Alejandro, a resourceful street orphan on the verge of adolescence, lives and works in an auto-body repair shop in a sprawling junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, New York. In this chaotic world of adults, Alejandro struggles to make a better life for himself and his sixteen-year-old sister.
War and poverty force Gulzar, a young tourist boatman, to run away from Kashmir with his best friend. But a military crackdown derails their escape, and they become trapped in Gulzar's lake... See full summary »
Gulzar Ahmed Bhat,
A young Tutsi woman and a young Hutu man fall in love amidst chaos; a soldier struggles to foster a greater good while absent from her family; and a priest grapples with his faith in the face of unspeakable horror.
A single mother and her embattled son struggle to subsist in a small Mississippi Delta township. An act of violence thrusts them into the world of an emotionally devastated highway store owner, awakening the fury of a bitter and longstanding conflict. Written by
I first became interested in Ballast when I heard about its setting: it's very rare to find a film set in the Mississippi Delta. It's also quite rare to find a serious drama with mostly black characters. I was afraid that this would either be a sappy melodrama or an attempt to make some "profound" point about how racism exists and is, like, bad and stuff. Thus I was quite pleased to find that this film manages to have a uniquely Southern setting without resorting to clichés or caricatures and that making some grand social statement is evidently the last thing on the mind of first time director Lance Hammer. Instead, we have a deliberately paced character study with a nicely handled mise en scene.
The film opens with the attempted suicide of Lawrence, a shopkeeper distressed over the (extremely) recent death of his twin brother/partner/only friend. Lawrence's recovery is complicated by his brother's will which indicates that the recently deceased man's ex-wife and teenage son are entitled to his share of the store and part of the property the brothers had co-habitated. Things start off tense due to the boy's involvement with some disreputable older boys that he owes money and stay that way due to Lawrence's troubled partnership with the boy's mother. This is a quiet, contemplative film for the most part and it offers no easy resolutions. Instead, it manages to realistically capture some unique characters in a woefully ignored section of American society.
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