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SXSW: Autumn's Eyes
My first film of the day was the documentary "Autumn's Eyes", a powerful look at poverty in Jersey City. It followed a very cute and bright four-year old girl, Autumn, whose mother is in jail pending a hearing on assault and theft charges. Autumn's guardian is Mama Rose, the diabetic matriarch of a large extended family. The documentary follows the family through jail visits, court hearings, and the trials of family life when you don't have very much. While there are some funny moments, the film works best when it's showing how many troubles this group faces. The Q&A after the film was enlightening, especially for how the filmmakers described their working relationship with the family, with whom they've become very close. They often had to balance when they should keep the cameras rolling to document the drama in the family's life and when they should provide assistance themselves. It really made me feel fortunate for my own position in society and it broke my heart seeing how disadvantaged some people are.