Inside America

Rates an A for effort but fails to provide fresh insights or dramatic substance.

With:
With: Raul Juarez, Aimee Lizette Saldivar; Zuleyma Jaime, Luis De Los Santos, Carlos Benavides, Patty Barrera, Roberto A. Perez. (English, Spanish dialogue)

Inspired by her year as a foreign-exchange student in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, Austrian helmer Barbara Eder tries to say something about the gap between reality and the American dream using a cross-section of Tex-Mex high schoolers in the sprawling low-budget drama “Inside America.” Shot naturalistically with a non-pro cast, the choppily edited tale (Eder’s film school graduation project) rates an A for effort but fails to provide fresh insights or dramatic substance, adding up to minor fest fare.

Repping the various school cliques, the underdeveloped narrative jumps between rich-bitch cheerleader Aimee (Aimee Lizette Saldivar); patriotic ROTC leader Carlos (Carlos Benavides), who fails to live up to the oaths he spouts so enthusiastically; hapless nerd Ricky (Luis De Los Santos); and various drug-dealing gangbangers and troubled Latinas. Most of the young cast members seem to be playing not particularly sympathetic versions of themselves; adult thesping is largely cringe-inducing, with the exception of two charming Spanish-speaking grannies. On the plus side, the more docu-like sequences (ROTC students marching, security officers with dogs checking rooms and lockers for drugs) are well shot, and pic captures the cultural mix of Brownsville.

Inside America

Austria

Production: A Schumann Eder production in cooperation with Filmacadamie Wien with the support of ORF, Kultur Niederosterreich, BM:UK, VAM, IF Austria. Produced by Constanze Schumann. Executive producer, Barbara Eder. Directed, written by Barbara Eder.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Christian Haake; editors, Claudia Linzer, Matthias Halibrand; music, Gerrit Wunder. Reviewed at Sarajevo Film Festival (competing), July 29, 2010. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: With: Raul Juarez, Aimee Lizette Saldivar; Zuleyma Jaime, Luis De Los Santos, Carlos Benavides, Patty Barrera, Roberto A. Perez. (English, Spanish dialogue)

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