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Raising Bertie (2016)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 9 June 2017 (USA)
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Raising Bertie is a longitudinal documentary feature following three young African American boys over the course of six years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a rural African ... See full summary »

Director:

Margaret Byrne
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Raising Bertie is a longitudinal documentary feature following three young African American boys over the course of six years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a rural African American-led community in Eastern North Carolina. Through the intimate portrayal of these boys, this powerful vérité film offers a rare in-depth look at the issues facing America's rural youth and the complex relationships between generational poverty, educational equity, and race. The evocative result is an experience that encourages us to recognize the value and complexity in lives all too often ignored. Written by Kartemquin Films

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An intimate portrait of three African American boys coming of age in rural North Carolina

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Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Country:

USA

Release Date:

9 June 2017 (USA) See more »

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Kartemquin Films See more »
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User Reviews

 
a thought-provoking documentary about hardship and isolation in North Carolina
29 August 2017 | by bobbie-16See all my reviews

This is a thought-provoking documentary about several years in the lives of three young men in Bertie County, a rural majority-African-American county in northeastern North Carolina. The three men struggle to complete a high school degree, find jobs, and "come of age" as individuals with agency and self-confidence, but the movie does not have a happy Hollywood conclusion. Their jobs are precarious, they have started fragile families without a solid economic foundation, and their education and skills are abysmally limited for an age of global competition. They appear to be headed for lives of hardship, disappointment, and racial isolation, and they seem oblivious to the exigencies of modern life in a fast-paced global society. The movie needs more analysis and context, especially a nuanced discussion of how education in the community could be improved. Although the filmmakers are sympathetic to the alternative school ("the Hive"), the images conveyed of the Hive suggest feel-good self-deception rather than solid academic standards that would lead to real self-esteem, educational achievement, and job prospects. Attention to middle-class and socially-mobile Black people in Bertie County would have added balance to the movie; it sometimes seemed perilously close to reinforcing rather than dispelling racial stereotypes. Although it would have violated principles of cinema verité or direct cinema (as the Maysles brothers preferred to call it), providing a few basic facts about the demographics, economy, and schools of Bertie County would have improved our overall understanding of what we were seeing in the movie. Despite these flaws, Raising Bertie is worth seeing and could stimulate a lot of discussion.


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