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Posted October 1, 2010
MUST SEE Academy Award Documentary Nominee!!!
The winner at this year's AFI Silverdocs and Full Frame Film Festival, this extraordinary film literally puts you in the eye of the storm known as Katrina using footage taken firsthand by Kimberly Roberts and her husband Scott-who happened to be residents of the ill-fated 9th Ward. The back story is amazing. Carl & Tia (who previously worked with Michael Moore) were filming in Alexandria, La when they happened upon Kim & Scott who had gone there when they were finally able to retreat from the storm. It seems that shortly before the rain and wind hit, Kim had purchased a camera for $20 on the streets of New Orleans and, instead of filming family events, turned her camera onto the devastation about to hit her neighborhood. Although totally unfamiliar with the camera, she managed to capture the harrowing experience that destroyed her community. Its utter rawness actually gives you a "You Are There" account that no poor Weather Channel reporter could ever convey! You are there as the Scotts' camera trains on the untouched neighborhood, on the initial raindrops, on the flooded streets below the attic where they and other folks were huddled, on the desperate 911 call where their pleas for rescue went for naught because no one was able/willing to rescue them, on the destruction of the 9th Ward after the rains had subsided. All along, Kim gives commentary that only adds to the terror of her surroundings. Although the battery power lasted only 30 minutes during the storm, there is enough pre and post hurricane footage to give the audience the full human impact that no one else could ever provide. Interspersed, Carl & Tia have provided the professional footage of the news reports and interviews that everyone across the country were receiving. After the waters had subsided, Kim and her camera walk the deserted streets. You follow Kim as she happens upon a house holding the remains of a homeless man she happened upon, and warned, just hours before the storm hit. And you are witness to the utter abandonment by their Government-especially after over 100,000 residents were unable to evacuate the city before Katrina hit the shores of Louisiana. (Scott remarks that they felt like they weren't U.S. citizens!) You follow them to a deserted Navy base where there are hundreds of unused beds, but, incredibly, they are turned away by sailors with M-16's. (You later learn that these same soldiers received Presidential commendations for their work in the city in the aftermath!) You watch as they are forced to take up residence in their old school-where their bed is made by pushing desks together. You come to realize what it was like to live in the shoes of the survivors that the news reports could never convey. As depressing as all this sounds, the film is ultimately uplifting and hopeful as it speaks volumes on the capability and fortitude of the human spirit. Kim has gone onto a singing career as a rap artist (as Black Kold Madina) and has even started a recording company (Her on screen performance of one song is quite inspiring and three of her songs grace the soundtrack.) Scott felt the need to do meaningful work and has succeeded in helping to rebuild his community-instead, as he says, of making drinks in a French Quarter bar. A small quibble: The filmmakers have correctly supplied subtitles for the heaviest accented New Orleaneans. I had just wished they had used it more as a lot of Kim's narration is indecipherable. Other than thatWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Thanks to everyone that had a part in this film!
"This film is great the best documentary of hurricane KatrinaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I have ever seen, thanks to the girl that filmed during the hurricane and
afterwards she did a great job. I wanted to say thanks to HBO for giving her a chance to put this out there, and now it is coming out on DVD this is wonderful. Katrina affected my area also, I live in mobile al; it is films like this that tell the real story. This is a powerful documentary of what really happened thanks to all that had a part in getting this out!"