Student documentaries | Chicago Reader

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Three video documentaries by Columbia College students. The strongest, James Prater and Ryan Schaddelee's six-minute The Shoe Shiner, focuses on a very young shoeshine boy in Guatemala, capturing the tenuousness of his existence with angles that place him at the feet of his clients and make him seem dwarfed by the streets of his town. His marginalized existence is beautifully expressed by the absence of his voice on the sound track even as subtitles translate his words into English. Holly O'Mara's Mick and Helen (31 min.), about a couple approaching their 65th anniversary, is the usual mix of talking heads, old photos, and old film footage. They're admirably energetic, and their stories give a good sense of their ordinary midwestern lives. Lem Huntington's enigmatic Laws of the Night (18 min.) records a group role-playing game but never makes a clear point.

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