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SPLINTERS
2011, Matson Films, 95 min, USA, Dir: Adam Pesce

Adam Pesce's documentary follows four surfers in Papua, New Guinea, where surfing isn't just a sport or a lifestyle - it's the promise of a better life. Friends Angelus and Ezekiel and sisters Lesley and Susan compete to win the chance to train in Australia before the inaugural Papua New Guinea National Surfing Titles; they all have talent, but in a culture of limited running water and equally limited options for the future, they have considerable challenges to overcome.


FAT CITY
1972, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

John Huston, his versatility truly liberated by an evolving New Hollywood cinema, directed this gritty, slice-of-life adaptation of Leonard Gardner’s novel about two boxers, one naïve neophyte (Jeff Bridges), and one on his way down (a brilliant Stacy Keach) with his perpetually drunken mate (the great Susan Tyrell). The faithful evocation of street life in northern California Stockton, its working class heroes and skid row flophouses, where dreams and hopes get crushed out like cigarette butts, is priceless.


RUDY
1993, Sony Repertory, 114 min, USA, Dir: David Anspaugh

Short and slight, with middling grades and little money, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) nonetheless dreams of leaving his working-class community and playing for the University of Notre Dame football team. Tragedy strikes at the steel mill in Rudy’s hometown, prompting the pint-size young man to move to South Bend. After clocking hours at a nearby community college, befriending the socially awkward Notre Dame grad student D-Bob (Jon Favreau, in his film debut) and getting his grades up, Rudy is admitted to the university and convinces Coach Parseghian (Jason Miller) to let him play on the football team’s practice squad. When Coach Parseghian’s promise of Rudy suiting up for one home game is thwarted by the arrival of skeptical new coach Dan Devine (Chelcie Ross), Rudy’s unflinching perseverance to achieve his dream makes for one of the most beloved and inspiring American sports movies ever made. With Ned Beatty as Rudy’s father and Christopher Reed as Rudy’s ill-fated best friend, Pete.


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