PAHOKEE

In a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, hopes for the future are concentrated on the youth. Four teens face heartbreak and celebrate in the rituals of an extraordinary senior year.

Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan create a detailed and incredibly nuanced portrait of PAHOKEE, a small rural town located in the Florida Everglades. A community tightly knit together that struggles with financial insecurities and a bleak future. Through an extremely precise observational approach, the film manages to capture the daily life of the town with a great wealth of nuanced details. From sports events to school beauty contests, the filmmakers observe how, through social and collective rituals, the ideas of gender and identity are publicly displayed while creating new narratives. Moving past the crucial Wiseman lesson, which Lucas and Bresnan have fully absorbed, the film possesses the distinct feel of a Gil Scott Heron song, with its deep streak of rural blues tinged with urban echoes. A complex and multi-layered work that recalls also both the gritty social realism of the new American cinema as well as the neorealist touch. PAHOKEE is a powerful portrait of a forgotten America absent from the current political discourse.

- Giona A. Nazzaro