As the back to school season gets going, the Kanopy Movie Club will discuss a whole series of films about life, love and music for September.
Our first film is the 2017 documentary Check It, a fascinating look at youth culture in Washington DC. Anthropological films about growing up and adapting to adult life are some of the most illuminating and instructive cultural documents that exist—they show us what our respective societies value and abhor. Against a backdrop of sex, violence, poverty and drug abuse Check It shows the resilience and perseverance of culture you may have never even considered.
Check It is a film that reminds me of textbook classics like Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age as well as gritty newer documentaries such as 1999 film N.Y.H.C. or the 2002 film Devil's Playground. While these 4 documentaries have wildly different subjects (an LGBT gang in DC, teens in Samoa, Punk rock musicians and the Amish) they are linked by a common thread: how do modern humans navigate and adapt to the cultural landscape of adult life.
Check It looks at a self described gang of young adults in the shadows of Washington DC as they navigate the domains of gender roles, sexuality, poverty, racism and fashion. In a hostile and violent place, Check It provides a tribal identity for the city’s most vulnerable. Kurt Vonnegut, when asked to give advice to young people, once quipped, “Join a gang, any gang.” This provocative advice may seem strange, but human beings are constantly banding together for company and security. We all have group affiliations that bring us comfort and security, whether it is wearing a Broncos shirt or flying a flag. Belonging is a central part of the human experience. While Check It may seem extreme to outsiders, they function as a family unit—for better or worse.
Below is a preview of the film; you can use your Basalt Library card to watch the full film on Kanopy. Visit our website for more information about how to join the film discussion via Zoom on Friday, September 4th, at 2PM.
Please join us next week for our discussion of the film The King about the life and music of Elvis Presley. If you have any questions or comments please send them along to me at email@example.com.
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