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There is nothing left of the American dream on the Nine--a solemn destination, a resting place for those who have relinquished the dream. Modesto is a city that lies in California's Central... See full summary »
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Shannon Lujan ...
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There is nothing left of the American dream on the Nine--a solemn destination, a resting place for those who have relinquished the dream. Modesto is a city that lies in California's Central Valley, a region devastated during America's Great Depression. Modesto's notorious South Ninth Street-the Nine-is a no man's land where the rules of polite society do not apply. The people living along the Nine form a ravaged micro community whose Darwinian existence is a day to day hustle, and survival is by any means necessary. Kiki, however, is the rare bright light whose magnetic optimism is a means of self-preservation. Her childlike enthusiasm belies the stark reality that surrounds her. THE NINE, filmed in an elegiac style, honors the casualties of a broken system-people who might otherwise be forgotten. Like a Townes Van Zandt song, THE NINE is a film about the beauty of those who fall by the wayside, a bittersweet country ballad that feels at times like a lost page by John Steinbeck or ...

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11 October 2016 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Searing Images, Intense Portrayal
11 August 2017 | by See all my reviews

This well-crafted, gripping documentary contains a plethora of astutely framed images, revolving around of the struggles of outliers who live in a section of Modesto, California known as "The Nine". Moments of visual respite come from lingering glances of the surrounding nature. This film has challenging sequences, because of the harsh environment these people dwell in. That said, there are threads of quiet hope woven throughout. Several grueling scenes felt stuck in dark emotional waters, and a tighter edit would have been beneficial. In fact, if this film had been 20-30 minutes shorter, it might have been just as pungent. The soundscape is finely tuned, including songs sung from the people themselves, periodic muddled dialogue, TV clips, prayers, and the sounds of ambient traffic and nature. There is an effective, dizzying tone in this audio soup. Films which feature those who live outside the norms of society walk a fine line... if the project goes too far, it can feel invasive and opportunistic. If they don't go far enough, we then question their authenticity. For me, this film hit a fairly nice balance of portraying harsh realities tempered by the promise of better things.


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