Thursday, February 21, 2008


Recommended: "Class C: The Only Game in Town"

This fantastic, independent film recently won the Big Sky Film Festival. I was lucky enough to catch a screening of it tonight in Bozeman. In a word, it was poignant. I actually shed a tear and laughed very hard.

Class C follows five girls basketball teams from the smallest category of Montana high schools. The film's narrative is driven by their pursuits of a state championship, but the movie is rarely about basketball. Defeat, victory, ruin, possibility, humility, pride, place, and self-discovery all play much larger.

Beautiful cinematography featuring Montana's sweeping vistas give the film a wonderful flavor. An original soundtrack provides rich texture.

I was very impressed with the balance that the film's young directories demonstrated. Often with such movies, I cringe more than I emote. The directors successfully walked a fine line, exploring racial tensions, broken homes, and dying towns in a way that hurt just enough. Then they'd backhand me with a finely juxtaposed knee-slapper.

The girls, of course, are the stars of the movie. With a few exceptions, they're very impressive, grounded individuals who know exactly how much and simultaneously how little basketball matters. They articulate with compassion the struggle and joy of rural livelihoods.

I think the show has wide appeal, despite being set in Montana. I watched the film next to a woman who grew up in New York City; she enjoyed it very much.

I highly recommend trying to catch Class C. It airs on Montana PBS Wednesday, Feb 27 at 8pm and Monday, March 3 at 7pm.

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