Innocente's virtue is self-evident
Symptoms: a distant mother, an abusive father, no legal documents. Diagnosis: a homeless child with big dreams of becoming an artist. Prescription: a 40-minute Oscar-winning documentary.
That’s the short version of the story of Inocente Izucar, the 15-year old (at the time of filming) homeless child of illegal immigrants who was spotted by an Oscar-nominated husband-and-wife directorial team, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, while researching for a new film.
“Inspired” by the statistic that one in 45 children in the US live on the street, in shelters or in motels, they set out to shoot a general documentary about child homelessness. But when they met the quirky Inocente at the San Diego nonprofit Arts: A Reason To Survive, they were sufficiently taken with the tenacious and artistically gifted teen to dedicate the whole of the film to her.
And there is no denying she is an interesting character with an elaborately decorated face, shy smile and bright, pop-arty painting style. Maybe it’s the colour Inocente’s art lends to the film (literally), or the self-evidence with which she dreams of doing too many things at the same time, but the documentary manages to address societal problems and personal crises without degenerating into a finger-wagging sob story – and all that in 40 minutes.
According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, that’s worth an award, and Inocente has made history as the first crowd-funded winner of an Oscar (for best short doc) – $52,527 of the budget came from 294 backers on Kickstarter.
Today, Inocente thinks it’s strange that people buy her art for so much money (up to $5,000 apiece) when she usually just gives it away, but she’s just rented her first real apartment and doesn’t have to live out of boxes anymore, so maybe the Oscars are good for something after all.
The critics certainly don’t think so and agree there’s room for another show about adolescents in McJobs figuring out how to become adults – particularly one that already been endorsed by the producer, the Golden Globes host and winner Amy Poehler.
It “knows how to nail situations/characters, while snappy edits cull fluff, leaving only comic gold”, praised Newsday, while Time applauded its “off-kilter sense of fun”, although the New York Times warned that it is “more linear, unpolished and narrowly comedic than Girls”. (BH)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever watched the opening ceremony of a Winter Olympics before, but should Sochi be anything like Moscow 1980, it’s guaranteed to be a kitsch occasion with the odd eye-opening spectacle. And let’s hope Liverpool vs Arsenal in the English Premier League lives up to the promise or at least delivers something a little more exciting than the London’s side 2-0 win last year. The Reds have had a good season, but lose at Anfield on Friday and they are definitely out of the running. (BH)
At last! A film that makes the 1980s look cool! And with it comes bucketloads of violence as the mysterious central character (Ryan Gosling) in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive tries to escape a shady past by racing fast cars and romancing slow women. For a more family-friendly option, see Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story Where the Wild Things Are – strictly not just for kids! The aliens in I am Number Four (K5, Sat 21:00) are at least sexy, unlike most of the guests at the Dinner for Schmucks. (ASH)