this documentary about a Title 1 public school in Brooklyn nationally recognized for its chess team. Really, I just wanted to have a date with the hub--you know when you get that urge to hold your guy's hand in the dark? It was one of those.
Kirk has been having a really crappy year at school. His district is operating on a skeleton budget, and over the summer the administrators played Pick Up Sticks with the staff in a desperate attempt to balance a totally out-of-whack fiscal situation. You know, the "cliff" everyone's talking about. He has over 40 kids in a few classes. He's teaching a grade he hasn't taught since his practicum days some 35 years ago while grade school teachers have been transferred to high schools faced with subjects they are ill-equipped to teach. I could go on and on, but I'm going to stop there, because this isn't a rant. No, it's a love note.
What makes Brooklyn Castle such a satisfying film has to do with the humanity that pours out of kids and teachers on the screen. The documentary covers more than a year at the school, and follows several students through the ups and downs of competition and the realities of an economy where social programs and education are perennially on the chopping block.
The filmmaker does a masterful job of bringing out the kids as they really are. Capturing the essence and spectrum of adolescence. The hopes. Pitfalls. Fear of failure. And the backdrop of dedicated teachers and administrators pushing that rock uphill during a perilous time in our economy makes the movie all the more stunning.
Kirk and I both teared up. Sitting there in an audience of four, quietly holding hands and rooting for these kids, for the school. And what a week to be watching such a film, right? The hurricane. The election. So much at stake.
The common denominator of the last seven days, I think, is love. When human beings work together, striving to accomplish that thing just outside the grasp, it's infectious.
What has inspired you lately?