Klavan On The Culture

Another Good Film: "Dog Days."

See, on other conservative blogs, you get doom and gloom. Obama is destroying the country. The Republican leadership is feckless. Illegal immigrants are immigrating illegally. The end is nigh!

But here at Klavan on the Culture, it’s a constant celebration! Why? Because we’re far-sighted! We know that if we take back the culture today, we can take back the country tomorrow. (We know this because we read it in “The Crisis in the Arts,” which is available free online.) Also, we’ve been raiding Stephen Green‘s liquor cabinet.

But seriously, on Monday, we celebrated my friend Jeremy Boreing’s incredible achievement: the making of The Arroyo, a feature quality modern western created from the grass roots up on a micro budget. Today, we fete another grass roots movie with an outlook conservatives can applaud, this one a documentary: Dog Days.

Filmmakers Laura Waters Hinson and Kasey Kirby — who made the tremendously moving and award-winning documentary As We Forgive, about the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide — took to KickStarter to help fund this doc about street food vendors in Washington D.C. Now on the face of it, the subject might not seem that exciting. But I tell you truly, this is a charming, touching, and at times actually suspenseful movie.

It tells the tale of two people. One is Coite, an unemployed engineer, who decides to risk his life savings to launch a new business: a sandwich kitchen that will help free D.C.’s food vendors from the regulation-imposed monopoly of a single supplier. The other is Siyone, an African refugee food vendor — and the sole support of four lovely children — who becomes the first customer for Coite’s sandwiches. Coite is a model of goofy all-American entrepreneurial courage. Siyone is an inspiring example of equally all-American hard work and faith. Watching the two of them go for it gives you more to root for, care about and worry over than you get in most superhero movies. Make that almost all superhero movies.

There’s a cast of Dickensian characters and also an inside look at how government — which in theory has a legitimate role to play in keeping food vending safe and clean — in fact, does just about nothing but foster corruption and get in people’s way. The always insightful Christian Toto over at Big Hollywood said, “Directors Kasey Kirby and Laura Waters Hinson capture the patience, pride and hard work of people like Coite and Siyone… Their cameras capture the quiet moments of a day on the job, the scrubbing, the setbacks and the tiny victories that power us all until quitting time. The film also pays tribute to a marriage where each partner supports the other, where immediate gratification doesn’t exist and faith in each other binds them together.” All true.

I saw this at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. It will continue making the festival rounds and I hope will have a wider release in theaters or on DVD soon. Watch for it.

I’m telling you: you wouldn’t know it from reading the political news, but where it counts, in the culture, and in the hearts and minds of Americans, the truth is on the march. You heard it here first.