Skip to main content

FRESH

USA, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Boaz Yakin

From the moment light suffuses the screen, director Boaz Yakin transforms what could have been just another gritty, urban scenario into something mystical and enduring. Reimagining the 'ghetto' genre from the ground up, this mature debut feature leaves aside the romanticised glamour of poverty and addiction seen in so many other films, and instead nails some hard emotional truths. Authentic and intelligent with moments of truly visceral impact, it radiates raw power tempered by a finely wrought sense of storytelling, carefully crafted dialogue and a pristine visual style.

Fresh, a school-age drug runner, is a quietly intense young boy, not at all taken in by the slick street cred of local ganglords. He has plans to save his earnings and escape the ambush of violence that is his daily existence-taking his older sister Nicole with him. However in a world where childhood is no defence against the horrors of the adult universe, his only protection is a terrifying sense of self-control and emotional distance that promises to swallow him whole.

Though forbidden to see his father (the ever versatile Samuel L. Jackson-Jungle Fever, Pulp Fiction) they meet to play games of chess, an obsession the older man believes will teach him about life. But for Fresh life is a very serious game, and to avoid being a pawn you must sacrifice what little innocence you have.

See also...

The Painted Princess

Writing last year for The Village Voice Ellen Cohn described Pooh Kaye adding " paint to her hyperactive interactive cast—animating swirls and strokes of gorgeous gut-grabbing colour with wit ... More »

Brooklyn on the Bowery

Shot in grainy black and white, this is a smooth slice of New York's time-warped barber shop culture. Immensely stylish and laid back, Brooklyn on the Bowery exudes an irresistible 50s style and ... More »

In Memory

Using the only extant footage of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, the filmmaker pays tribute to members of his own family and others who died as a result of Nazi persecution. An affecting and extraordinary ... More »

Tangents

An animated exploration of twentieth century abstraction and architectural icons as devel­oped in Russian Constructivism and at the Bauhaus before its closure by the Nazis 1933. Of particular ... More »

FRANK & OLLIE

... ... The Walt Disney Company became the embodiment of family entertainment with its classic animated features during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. This team of creative artists trans­formed what ... More »

AMATEUR

... ... Deadpan, fiercely cynical and extremely funny, Hal Hartley has cemented his reputa­tion as the US independent requiring the closest of scrutiny. This curious director creates a ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director