7.5/10
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7 user 21 critic

Pressure Cooker (2008)

Unrated | | Documentary | 19 June 2008 (USA)
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Infamously blunt, Wilma Stephenson runs a "boot camp" teaching Culinary Arts at Frankford High, disciplining her students into capable chefs and responsible students. But behind her tough ... See full summary »
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Infamously blunt, Wilma Stephenson runs a "boot camp" teaching Culinary Arts at Frankford High, disciplining her students into capable chefs and responsible students. But behind her tough exterior is a teacher who cares passionately about getting the best out of her kids.

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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 2008 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,151, 31 May 2009, Limited Release
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Color
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Connections

References The Brady Bunch (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional Documentary that Dispels Pernicious Stereotypes
9 January 2017 | by cydneyalexisSee all my reviews

In my field of writing studies, a concept called "sponsorship" (Brandt) is infamous. This concept speaks to the phenomenon by which structural, institutional, and often invisible forces give access to literate resources to some, while denying it to others (and the "sponsors," who are not individuals, but rather institutions, corporations, etc.) benefit from their sponsorship in some way. This film, better than any other I've ever seen, demonstrates how sponsorship works.

CCAP, a culinary organization of sorts, awards college scholarships to inner-city high-schoolers who exhibit culinary skill by winning in local cooking competitions. This film traces one set of resource-poor inner city youth who, over the course of their high school careers, take a culinary course with a demanding, over-bearing teacher who trains them for this competition (typically with much success, and in the film, you find out exactly how much money this program earns for the kids). CCAP provides the means by which kids can escape their situations, and in the process, earns it own monetary, tax, and charitable rewards.

The film itself does not discuss sponsorship. However, it shatters myths about inner-city youth being too lazy, uneducated, or dumb to succeed in life, and instead shows just how much resource-poor kids have to do to reap the same rewards as those who are resource-rich. These kids get up at 5 a.m. to work in the school's kitchen, are asked to train in the kitchen from 5 a.m.-til the end of the day during their Spring Breaks, work on the weekends and after school, play on sports teams, and still have to earn high enough grades to stay in the culinary arts course, which is only offered to the top students in the school in which the course is offered.

I don't agree with the previous viewer that this film lags in the middle. It is a tense, moving, compelling, and often tear-jerking film that will grip you and teach you a lot about the world we live in.

I highly recommend that any teacher who reads this review runs out and purchases the film immediately. I use it in most of the courses I teach, especially when I want to get at issues of racism and privilege.


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