Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just Another Girl on the IRT (Leslie Harris, 1992)

Satibara filmu debitantski rad Lesli Haris zanimljiv je iz više razloga: snimljen je na lokacijama u Njujorku, u prirodnom osvetljenju, kako bi se snimalo brže, za samo 17 dana, sa uglavnom nepoznatim glumcima. Dobio je specijalnu nagradu žirija na Sundance festivalu 1993. godine i uspeo da zainteresuje tada nezavisnu firmu Miramax. Osim ove inspirativne produkcione istorije i stilskih kvaliteta, zanimljiv je iz više kontekstualnih razloga: jedan je od prvih filmova koji je snimila Afro-Amerikanka, dobio je nacionalnu distribuciju u Sjedinjenim Američkim Državama, ima naglašeno žensku perspektivu uz besni hip-hop stav i soundtrack.

"Chantel Mitchell (Ariyan A. Johnson) is an African-American, 17-year-old high school junior who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Chantel is very smart and articulate, although her sharp tongue, abundant ego, and occasional naivete undermine her efforts. Her ultimate dream is to leave her poor neighborhood, go to college, and eventually become a doctor. Throughout the movie, Chantel breaks the fourth wall and states that she wants to be seen as more than just another teenage black girl on the subway. Hence, the "I.R.T." in the film's title stands for "Interborough Rapid Transit Company", and specifically references the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway system. However, there is only one scene in the film where Chantel is actually in the subway.

She lives with her struggling working-class parents and her two younger brothers. With her mother working during the day and her father working the night shift and hence sleeping all day, Chantel is given the responsibility of taking care of her brothers in addition to going to school full-time and working a part-time job at a local grocery store.

However, she earns mostly A's and B's in school, and is fully determined to receive an education beyond her primary one. Much to the chagrin of her teachers, she wants to graduate early in order to get into college as soon as possible. Her dream is tested with her constant clashes with her school's administration, and her recent romantic involvement with her seemingly-rich boyfriend Tyrone (Kevin Thigpen). She becomes pregnant and undermines herself with false confidence and lack of real worldly knowledge."