Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sons of Perdition (2010)

Dirs: Tyler Measom & Jennilyn Merten - feature film directorial debuts
USA, 2010

Reason to see: Documentary on people trying to get out of a polygamist community sounded fascinating to me.

Sons of Perdition is a powerful documentary follows three teenage guys who leave the polygamist community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) in Colorado City (aka The Crick) which was headed by 'prophet' Warren Jeffs. The community is insular on many levels from education being limted to religion & math, to families being so insular that a multiple wives of men may already be related to each other.

From an outsiders perspective, it seems shockingly clear at why people would want to get out. But if it was all that you knew, would you still want to get out? Following people that did, we see them at a bit of odds when they do get out as there are few and far between resources and support to help them out and often they put a clamp on the one new thing that they have discovered: freedom. Freedom of mind, body and spirit. Add that to the fact most escapees are in their teens and early 20s and are just ready to experience any kind of life, following any rules feels like a challenge that they've already worked and sacrificed a lot to get away from.

One of the most interesting things I found about the documentary was the persistence of certain values even through the transition. The nostalgia mixed with powerful emotional responses and longing. The crave of community and the ease of living among many people. But most of all, you are just hoping that the kids will get a chance to lead their own lives. The cyclic challenges involving education and stable living situations often leads depending on the generosity of others and/or working in trades instead of going to school.

Although the film does focus on the journey of the three guys, it does also touch on women who escape the community and several folks that have left or been excommunicated from the community on a longer term. The combination of all of the stories provide a broader spectrum on the affects of living in the community had, and the power of choice, change and hope.

Sons of Perdition screens on Wednesday October 6, 2010 at 6:30 and 9:15PM at The Bloor as a part of the monthly Doc Soup screening series by Hot Docs. Filmmakers Tyler Measom & Jennilyn Merten will be in attendance at the screenings for introductions and post-screening Q&A's. Check here for more information.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I widely recommend it

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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