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Our Song / In Between Days

A girl wearing a backpack in the snow.
June 26, 2022 - 7:00 pm
writer-director Jim McKay (Our Song), co-writer-producer Bradley Rust Gray (In Between Days).

Our Song

U.S., 2000

As Roger Ebert somewhat hilariously but sadly notes, “Because Our Song deals with the daily reality of girls under 17, it has been rated R, so that they can be prevented from learning from the movie's insights.” And insights aren’t all that’s on offer in this touching tale of three teenaged girlfriends coming into adulthood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Kerry Washington’s breakout performance stands out, but Melissa Martinez and Anna Simpson shine alongside her in this moving tale of the challenges faced by young women in an unforgiving urban world. Barely past childhood themselves, pregnancy is a real temptation, even as its potential impact on their lives is barely imagined. The choices they make are the crux of this poignant and beautiful tale that acclaimed director Jim McKay calls “the coolest, most gratifying creative experience I ever had.” The film also features dynamic, inspiring scenes with the real-life Jackie Robinson Steppers marching band.

DCP, color, 95 min. Director: Jim McKay. Screenwriter: Jim McKay. With: Kerry Washington, Melissa Martinez, Anna Simpson.

In Between Days

U.S./Canada/South Korea, 2006

Let’s call this North American neorealism, as it’s set in Canada: Jiseon Kim delivers a touching naturalist performance as teenaged Korean immigrant Aimie, adapting to a new city and new life. Building on classic coming-of-age tales, Aimie and best friend Tran (excellently played by Taegu Andy Kang) try unsuccessfully and painfully to convey their feelings for each other, discovering moments of beauty, longing, and jealousy along the way. Sarah Levy’s intimate winter cinematography gives the film a palpable sense of its frozen, snow-bound location, or rather, a dislocation that haunts the immigrant community in which they live. The absence of Aimie’s father heightens the ever-looming sense of alienation faced by both her and her mother.

DCP, color, 83 min. Director: So Yong Kim. Screenwriter: Bradley Rust Gray, So Yong Kim. With: Taegu Andy Kang, Bokja Kim, Jiseon Kim, Mike Park.