Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sean Baker: 'The Florida Project' (2017)

I first learned about Sean Baker's The Florida Project (2017) because one of its stars, Willem Dafoe, received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in it. 

The Florida Project zeroes in on some of the people attached by work or residency to the Magic Castle and Futureland motels on the ragged Kissimmee periphery of Disney World. 

We see things largely though the perspectives of circa six-year-old kids, particularly Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince), Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera); their mothers/guardians Halley (Bria Vinaite), Ashley (Mela Murder) and Stacey (Josie Olivio); and Bobby, the manager of Magic Castle (Dafoe).  
This film is a gem. The milieu and performances are right on. The perspectives are so evocative that The Florida Project unleashed a flood of memories for me, from when I was six years old! It's so true!

When I was six, my immediate family was living in an apartment complex in Justice, Illinois, about nineteen or twenty miles southeast of Chicago by car. We resided there for a couple of years as a transit point between Pennsylvania and Minnesota, based on my father's job trajectory.

There I had friends and acquaintances named Boatsie, Pic and Misty -- pretty close to names like Moonee, Scooty and Jancey. We would run around the area, in and nearby the apartment complex, exactly as they do in the movie -- it was a most excellent thing being a "Free Range" kid, sometimes on the dangerous side.

We occasionally got into the same kinds of trouble the kids do in The Florida Project, but much more dramatic events for us included seeing the devastation brought by tornadoes ripping through the nearby landscape, a huge building fire in our complex, and helping out afterwards. 
Where were you when you were six years old?  The answer may inform your response to The Florida Project. What you bring may translate into what you see reflected. So, at least, it was for me. 

Today's Rune: Fertility.           

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

You need to write a children's books with the names of your friends from those days.