January 13, 2010

I Love the Internet

Reason the first:

The other week I ended up on a food blog that was linked in a post that I was reading because it was listed as a related post at the bottom of yet another post shared by someone I follow in Google Reader. (Got all that? Social networking at its finest.) The upshot is that I was left with a recipe for snowy sugared cranberries: tart fresh cranberries tossed with tooth-achingly sweet mixture of honey, sugar, and vanilla.

The Pupster and I made a batch last week. And then I ate them all. I am in love. They fall right in line with my penchant for Lemonheads, Sour Patch Kids, Sweetarts and other such lovelies. Only I can pretend these are healthy. They do involve fruit, after all.

You'll have to take my word for it that they're pretty little goobers, too, all red and white. I overstirred mine a bit and they weren't as attractive as they could have been, so clearly I need to make another batch to perfect my technique.

Reason the second:

While I nibbled gorged on my snowy cranberries, Todd and I watched a new adoption documentary, Off and Running: An American Coming of Age Story. I was super happy when the filmakers offered to send us (among other bloggers) a screener, because I was really intrigued by what I had heard about the film and knew there was zero chance I would get to see it when it premieres in New York this month.

The official synopsis:
With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers — one mixed-race and one Korean—Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. But when her curiosity about her African-American roots grows, she decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known. She begins staying away from home, starts skipping school, and risks losing her shot at the college track career she had always dreamed of. But when Avery decides to pick up the pieces of her life and make sense of her identity, the results are inspiring. OFF AND RUNNING follows Avery to the brink of adulthood, exploring the strength of family bonds and the lengths people must go to become themselves.
It is difficult to talk about it without giving too much away about how the story unfolds over the course of the film. It was a powerful film, powerful because the story was allowed to be messy, for lack of a better word. No one is perfect and no one is a villain; I was constantly alternating between cringing and sympathy, or experiencing both simultaneously. Everything is complicated: figuring out who you are in the middle of transracial adoption, navigating a fragile reunion, parenting a struggling teen, the interplay between her approach to searching and identity formation and that of her older brother's.  Sometimes personal narrative focuses in on a narrow slice of a broader topic (like adoption), gives us one pinpoint of experience; this narrative turned outward to touch on larger questions about just what responsibilities we have to ourselves and to others in adoption, especially adoption across racial and cultural lines.

Avery, the young woman at the center of the documentary, was intimately involved in the documentary process and actually ended up with a screenwriting credit. I didn't realize that until we were watching the credits, but I think it really comes through in how present her voice is in the film.

The film is showing for a week in New York beginning January 29, then at film festivals in Denver and San Diego in February. You can look at the film's website or follow it on Twitter to find out where else it may play. I hope it makes its way to public television or becomes available on Netflix or something so that more folks get a chance to watch it. Definitely recommended.

ETA: It's going to air on the PBS series P.O.V. sometime this year.

A special note for my friends at the FTC and BlogHer: I was sent a marked preview copy of the documentary that, as far as I know, has little or no retail value. I was not compensated in any other way.


Anonymous said...

I, too (as the birthmother of a son of Jewish lesbians) hope it makes it to Netflix; thanks for the insightful review.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I hadn't heard of this movie. Thanks for the news about it.

Amy said...

The movie rings a bell in my head, maybe I read about it in a magazine?

I love PBS and the POV series. We watched an incredibly moving and heartbreaking documentary a short time ago about War Vets being "greeters" for the troops today. It was much more than that, and we were in tears the entire time.

I'll check out PBS website for the showing of Off and Running so we will not miss it. Thanks for the heads up.

cynthia said...

So jealous! I can't wait to see that movie.
Thanks for reminding me to keep an eye out.

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