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The We and the I

By ENID SPITZ
Midway through the long city bus ride captured in The We and the I, the film goes silent and slow-motion. Every teenage eye follows a sundress-clad white woman biking alongside the bus. “Hey, bitch, nice tits,” says one of the boys, breaking the spell. Most of this 103-minute commute home with Bronx public schoolkids on the brink of summer vacation is similarly blunt, with conversations revealing broken families and dreams of art school interspersed with pudding-related pranks and sex jokes. This “participatory film” from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) sourced all its first-time teen actors from The Point, a South Bronx arts center. Exasperating squabbles force an exodus of all other bus riders, but viewers will stick around for the unvarnished performances. Even the claustrophobic setting is surprisingly tolerable thanks to flashbacks, antics en route, and the occasional hop off the bus—two boys bolt, clutching their sagging jeans, grab pizza during a long stop. It feels so real you can almost smell the greasy cheese.
 

Special Note

Fox Tower
 
  • Running Time:
  • Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Watch the trailer
 

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