DIFF 2018: Day 6

Eleven Hundred to Lubbock is a low-budget independent Texas narrative that follows a young woman who recently loses her brother and tries to figure out what to do with his remains. After meeting his free-spirited friends who all know each other at a local German bar in Los Angeles, she begrudgingly goes along with the friends’ idea to run together across the United States to spread his remains at his favorite musician Buddy Holly’s grave in Lubbock, Texas. A very reserved person who does not enjoy social situations, the sister is not particularly enthusiastic about hanging out with her brother’s friends, but she develops close relationships with them over the course of the 1100 miles to Lubbock.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a terrific narrative drama that follows a teenager, played by the excellent Chloë Grace Moretz, who is sent to a gay conversion camp after she is discovered in a intimate relationship with another female teenager. It explores the heartbreaking emotional trauma that the young people go through in the name of spiritual help. The brother and sister staff instill in the fragile teenagers that what they are doing is evil and only God can save them by studying the words of the Bible and praying. The movie provides important insight into what happens at these so-called gay conversion camps and how they often cause more problems than help the young people that they are serving.

Blindspotting is a surprisingly powerful independent comedy/drama that explores what it is like to be an African American in a poor neighborhood undergoing gentrification. Written by the stars of the film, comedians and musicians Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, it follows lifelong friends living in Oakland over the course of a few days as Diggs’ character is about to get off probation. Filled with some very funny moments, the movie also delves deep into such timely issues as police brutality, cultural appropriation, gentrification, and other race issues in particular related to poverty. What makes the film so special is the on-screen chemistry between the two protagonists who are real-life friends and the clever writing in which the characters recite slam poetry and evocative ad-lib rap lyrics to discuss the issues. It is definitely a must-see and expect more great things from the extremely talented writing and acting duo.

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