An unblinking, deeply resonant look at three women and their families navigating a government-imposed relocation in an underprivileged section of Los Angeles, confident docu “South Main” marbles furious rigor with streaks of clear-eyed compassion. A solid fest item, the pic is an appropriate social-issue tube buy, with strong educational ancillary in the offing.
When the city shutters a South Central complex notorious as a gang haven, the building’s law-abiding families are granted 30 days to move. The promise of a so-called “Section 8” relocation subsidy fails to materialize until days before the deadline, throwing their individual destinations into doubt. Scrambling to stay together and solvent, each family exhibits periods of naivete and confusion, buttressed with instinctual courage. Raised by a single mother in government subsidized housing, Detroit native and CalArts MFA film candidate Kelly Parker views subjects in static, unbroken takes; most affecting is Latisha Fikes’ nearly 10-minute monologue on the days-old drive-by shooting of her fiancee. Result is an affecting blend of style and substance. Among Parker’s credited advisers are “Los Angeles Plays Itself” helmer Thom Anderson and “Chain” director Jem Cohen, fine influences for an emerging young talent.