Ballou , a documentary film, follows the talented Washington, DC, Ballou Senior High School Marching Band, as they overcome their negative environment filled with guns, drugs, and violence,...
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Ballou , a documentary film, follows the talented Washington, DC, Ballou Senior High School Marching Band, as they overcome their negative environment filled with guns, drugs, and violence, and uplift the community with music, dedication, and personal sacrifice. This Washington, DC, High School Marching Band--from an impoverished community just 3 miles away from the US Capitol building--is on its way to the national band competition. They are a family with heart and soul that use hard work, discipline, and compassion to overcome all obstacles. Political leaders and celebrities including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Gen (ret) Colin Powell, Congressman John Lewis, Marion Barry, Denyce Graves, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chuck Brown are featured in the film to show the importance of a small marching band in the lives the band members and in the community. Written by
We saw this movie last week in DC. It was excellent and I highly recommend it. The documentary is a well-balanced portrait of a leader (the Ballou Band director, Darrell Watson) and of the kids (rising above their environment to be a part of something "bigger"). And throughout the movie there is the theme that the band is truly a family, there to support each other and help each other work hard/achieve.
We had a lot of post-movie discussion in our group after this movie, which I think is an objective of documentaries - so the film's director absolutely succeeded in this respect.
There are commentaries throughout from some local DC figures on the importance of the band. I thought it distracted from the film a bit. I was much more interested in Mr. Watson, his staff and of course, the kids. Would have been nice to have commentary at the end, updating the viewers on what the graduating kids are now "up to". However, perhaps there is power in letting the viewers speculate.
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