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The Boys of Baraka (Unrated)

Release Date: November 30th, 2005 (NYC-Film Forum) by THINKfilm.
Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about twenty middle school boys from inner-city Baltimore selected to spend two years at Baraka School, a boarding school in Kenya

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Out of the twenty Baraka School boys, The Boys of Baraka focuses on four young boys: Romesh, Richard, Devon, and Montry. The most interesting boy is Devon, who already has dreams about becoming a preacher. They each come from poor homes and broken families with drug and violence problems all around them. If they were to stay in their Baltimore public school, they would have a slim chance to end up graduating high school and a big chance to end up in jail. Thus, when a representative from the Baraka School shows up at their school to promote the special program, itís clear how significant the chance is for these boys. The question is whether or not these boys will make something out of this opportunity, especially given Barakaís strict rules and regulations which, if broken, would force them back to Baltimore. Once in Kenya, the boys must adapt their environment without any television to keep them occupied. Ití is easy to care about the four boys because, when the film cuts back to their proud family in Baltimore, you get to see their lives in a big yet highly personal picture. In a surprising turn of events, the Baraka School is forced to close after their first year, but directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady donít spend too much time dwelling on the closure--the lives of these boys simply must go on. You hope, just like their parents, that their time spent in Kenya will make them into successful, well-rounded individuals.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Itís equally uplifting and heartwarming just to watch these young boys try to better their future through proper education. Not only do they learn how to read, but they also learn that instead of using violence to solve their problems, they should talk it out with others in a more reasonable way. The life ahead of them is certain full dangers, obstacles, and temptations. The way that their lives have changed for the better will put a smile on your face. Hopefully, when they reach adulthood, they remember and cherish their experiences at the Baraka school



THE BOTTOM LINE: Powerful, uplifting, and heartwarming!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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