George Washington

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One of the key films of contemporary American independent cinema, David Gordon Green’s poetic debut feature George Washington is an ambitiously constructed, elegantly photographed meditation on adolescence and life in the decaying rural South. Over the course of one hot summer, a group of children in a small North Carolina town must confront a tangle of difficult choices. The kids’ hardscrabble lives are seen through the eyes of Nasta, a wise-beyond-her-years 11 year-old girl. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Buddy, she detaches from her group of delinquent friends and becomes romantically obsessed with a strange boy who is burdened by the fact that his skull never hardened after birth. While Nasta grows closer to the enigmatic outsider, a shocking act of random violence bonds the children together in ways both unexpected and profound. Constructed as series of linked vignettes, and told in a dreamily poetic style reminiscent of the early works of Terrence Malick, the film features a cast of primarily non-professional young actors whose unselfconsciously raw performances lend the film a quasi-documentary flavor. A surprise hit on the international film festival circuit, George Washington is a haunting, startling and excitingly distinctive work that announced its young creator, David Gordon Green, as a major filmmaking talent who would soon move from the world of small-scale independent cinema to big budget Hollywood films such as the 2008 stoner comedy hit, Pineapple Express. (Dir. by David Gordon Green, 2000, US, 89 mins., Not Rated) 35mm