Opposites Attract

Half Nelson crashes and delivers

There's a timely discussion running throughout Half Nelson—the basis of Dan's classroom lectures—about historical change over the decades (the civil rights movement, Pinochet, Attica, et al.) and how it has been the result of a collision between dialectically opposing forces. Fleck and Boden, too, are surveyors of change and dialectical opposition, though, excepting a somewhat contrived climactic bacchanal in a fleabag motel room, they prefer to work on a miniature scale—students of everyday rigors and of lives that turn out, for better or worse, unlike anything we'd planned. In the end, they leave us not exactly with hope, but an understanding of how the shaving of a patchy beard, the tidying of a filthy apartment and the drinking of a glass of clear, cool water might be titanic gestures of human survival.

HALF NELSON WAS DIRECTED BY RYAN FLECK; WRITTEN BY FLECK AND ANNA BODEN; PRODUCED BY JAMIE PATRICOF, ALEX ORLOVSKY, LYNETTE HOWELL, BODEN AND ROSANNE KORENBERG. AT EDWARDS UNIVERSITY, IRVINE.

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