A movie review of the boys of Barakah

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The film “The Boys of Baraka” is directed and produced by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The cast was exceptionally performed by Richard Keyser who portrayed Devin Brown. The music is provided by J.J. McGeehan and in charge of the cinematography were Marco Franzoni and Tony Hardmon. The film was edited by Enat Sidi and the distribution was made possible by the ITVS. This was released on 30th of November 2005 with a running time of 84 minutes using the English language.

The documentary film titled “The Boys of Baraka” by Heidi Ewing as well as Rachel Grady intend to follow a certain group of students from the junior high of the inner city in Baltimore. It is about the two year experimental documented activities of the students at Kenyan learning institution, The School of Baraka. Featured in the Film, The Boys of Baraka are four boys in their youth who have individual personalities and abilities. When they became an adult they were made to choose what life they would like to have. Richard who has a strong personality is having a problem regarding the future of his younger brother and his father who is in prison. Romesh is a boy who is already downbeat as well as suspicious. Another key character is Monterey, who is a mischievous and at the same time a contentious child. He is always involved in a brawl with other kids, suspended multiple times in school. Devon is a preacher in a local church as he was coping with his drug addict mother and has been in and out of prison. In two-thirds part of the movie, something went wrong. The film started with a scene where a policeman was chasing the Black youth one night in Baltimore. An opportunity was offered to these boys where they were asked to join the 16 other youth black boys to attend boarding school, an experimental one. Their families were aware that an educational opportunity offers positive future for their children even if the school is situated in rural bush of Kenya in Africa. In one family two brothers applied. The school asked what if only one of the two will be allowed to go to the boarding school. And the answer of the mother was they should not turn one kid a king and the other kid a killer. And because of this, the two siblings were given the scholarship. It was a pursuing scene from the school to the wilderness of Africa. The school is founded 1996 by Abell Foundation and named Baraka, an African word which means “blessing”. This was designed to provide African-American boys living in Baltimore the opportunity to their abilities, their personality, excel academically, and remove them from the chaotic environment. It is a learning institution that has stricter discipline structure and the high-quality education that is provided in private schools. Teachers are whitely administrated by American volunteers. The boys saw this as their opportunity to have a brighter future. The film showed the story of the actual happenings in Baraka School and the four youthful boys. They were made to reach their goal by gaining educational confidence and a chance to go to graduate school after finishing high school. The school has maintained a got track record in providing their students with good education where four out of three students were able to graduate high school. During their two years, the boys were able to experience the joy to live as kids and the same time they also feel homesick and were also discontent the discipline that the school was enforcing. Romesh had attempted several times to go to the airport with the bag to return to Baltimore. They were told in this school that if they fail in one class, they have to go home. They were made to enjoy their environment by running around, splash themselves in streams, enjoy watching the exotic animals, climb a mountain. A setting which is far different in Baltimore where they are only made to watch television due to the danger that they might encounter if they will go outside their house.

There was in one scene where the boys who were brawling with each other hiked and taken to a base camp where they were given a tent and spend the night in that place. They were left to figure out for themselves how to assemble it. However, one boy refused to help in assembling the tent. And the teacher said, “Fine, you will sleep outdoor”. Then they just worked on it, assembled it together, and the animosity between the two boys stopped. In one part of the movie, a counselor told one of the boys that he may not be a mayor of the city of Baltimore, however, he can always excel working on cars. The film’s attention was to reveal the kids’ inner potential, where they can be an academic wizard and may become an inspirational leader someday. The kids were told and given three kinds of dress to choose from and these are the prison orange suit, a box that contains a suit, and a gown and a cap that represents high school completion. However, things changed due to the terrorist’s attack in Nairobi’s American embassy. Baraka was forced to close that ends the two years’ learning experiences of the boys in that school. One summer in Baltimore, they were told that they will no longer go back to that school.

In an article, it was mentioned that there was a review of the film complaining the unsatisfactory ending of the movie. It is because there were unforeseen events that should have completed the film. One of the tearful boys commented regarding the shutting down of the school that their life will already be bad. One parent also said that they could be killed in Baltimore and another parent said that if the kids will be sent back to Baltimore, it is just like they are sending them to jail. Some of these boys went back to aimless living. However, Demon, a ninth-grade class student, and the president of the class were already working as a preacher. Montry, the kid with a problem attitude already changed during his stay in Baraka and now getting top scores in a school in Maryland. Getting high grades in Math tests and admitted to a competitive school in the city of Baltimore. As the film closes, He said that people might think that we will not have future. And he added that he is going to make something of himself, become different, and with conviction said that he will be recognized on the map.

“The Boys of Baraka” revealed how the schools fail and the how bad environment can affect the child’s future. Parents, as well as children, are making efforts to have and live a better life, however, the system itself is preventing them to realize it and making the life for this person hard to live. A mother that was portrayed in the film went back to drug addiction and was jailed. Older people think and see that Baltimore is a city of the death sentence for their own grandchildren. And the recruiter of Baraka school said that there is no future for these kids in Baltimore but jail.

Documentaries tell stories that were long been unfold. And filmmakers hope that they will be able to record and elicit true transformation from it. The question that the filmmakers were trying to impart is a picture of the urban poverty in America. The documentary depicted the subjects in their out control behavior, always fighting each other and ignoring the authorities. It revealed the grim reality of the world where the kids live which is ruled by the drug dealers, families destroyed by drug addiction, and a community of criminals. There might be more truthfulness in the riotousness life of the kids living with delinquent people in Baraka as shown in the film. However, the creator of the film portrayed the kids as wilder and incomprehensible which was evident in the part where they have to subtitle the speech or lines which was comprehensible. The movie concentrated more on the conflict and little on gentler scenes. It revealed the tragic side of the human face. Moreover, the film showed the dilemmas that the children were experiencing. It showed that whatever difficulties they encounter they still draw strength from their black community, families, as well as churches. The kids that seem the world has given up but refused to be trampled by the disadvantages that they are facing in their life. They showed more hopes for themselves and for their families to have the better life.

If I will be given the opportunity and have the capacity to help them, I would fund the school for it not to close and continue to provide better future for these kids. I would increase the compensation of the teachers working in this institution. I will also provide funding to save the children from this environment that is killing their hopes and aspirations in life. I would support everything like provide for their food and to the medical needs of the kids. Kids like Montry should be provided with full educational support and be given the opportunity to become a good and productive citizen in the society.

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