Russia has been in the news more than we care to think about these days and mostly associated with an administration that is slowly but surely garnering less and less respect for our country as the seconds tick by. However, one thing I bet you would never associate Russia with – young basketball players from Haiti.
Director, Leyla Nedorosleva introduces our to Pierre, who at 15 years-old is living with his Mom in a makeshift home in the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince, walks for hours every single day to the amateur basketball ball. Too poor to afford to ride the public transit, we watch with bated breath as many bikers, buses, trains and cars pass the young man on his journey to find a way out to America and obtain an education. An education that is not possible for him in his beloved Haiti.
Enter another Pierre (Valmera), a retired pro ball player, who operates and runs Power Forward International, a not-for-profit organization that is “dedicated to inspiring underprivileged children to achieve excellence in education and athletics.” He believes that all countries have their strengths and for Haiti, it’s in their basketball players—extremely tall ones. Valmera even goes the extra step genuinely caring for these young as they retrace the steps he made years ago. Although some of them will become top basketball players, this is not a sports documentary, this film is about a quest to come back home – as new, more capable human beings than they were when they left.
These kids are no stars. Not yet. Two – Four – Six is a raw documentary focusing three main characters at three different stages of the same process. Already having been introduced to Pierre Joseph …enter Schneider, 17, as he copes with his exhausting and scheduled life in his guardian’s apartment, completely different from his way of living as a street kid in Haiti. Experts have already compared him to LeBron James during his younger years and career.
Two – Four Six has no voice-over or music to distract you from the issue at hand. No matter how much potential or how talented one may be….there’s no place like home.
For more films at the LA Film Festival, you only have until June 22nd to catch the screenings. Go to http://www.filmindependent.org for more information and scheduling times.