Tomorrow (Thursday, March 3rd) Rooftop Films will be hosting a screening of Greg Takoudes’s gritty drama Up With Me, at the Bruckner Bar and Grill, where love and loyalty are put to the test when a Harlem teenager is offered a prep school scholarship upstate. The film is a remarkable collaboration between director Greg Takoudes and at-risk youth at the East Harlem Tutorial Program and is part of our monthly free screening series at the Bruckner.
Thursday Mar 3, 2011
7:00 PM Doors Open
7:45 PM Film Begins
9:15 PM Filmmaker Q&A
Bruckner Bar & Grill
Indoors at the Bruckner Bar and Grill
1 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454
By Subway: Take the 4, 5 to 138 St. Grand Concourse or the 6 to 138 Street 3rd Avenue
More about Up With Me
“In school, they taught us about great civilizations. But one day, they’ll count Harlem as one of them, and they’ll count us. No billionaire wants so much as us. No one ever loved like I love Francisco. There were no better friends than ours.” But when Francisco, a teenager from Harlem, is admitted to an upstate boarding school on scholarship, he is torn between his life at home—his loyal girlfriend and his jealous best friend—and the new environment.
In tough and disadvantaged neighborhoods, people always face a dilemma choosing between local pride and worldly desire, between staying loyal and seeking a better life. How do you improve yourself (or even define “improvement”) in ways that don’t alienate your friends, your loved ones, your community?
Francisco wants the education, but doesn’t want to change. In a brilliant act of narrative restraint, the filmmakers barely show Francisco at the new school for most of the movie, leaving the audience wondering (like his friends) what the upstate academy is actually like for him. His tender scenes with Erika subtly highlight the way he’s not quite sure what to do with his newly acquired knowledge, embarrassed to embarrass her, even though she is clearly a poetically insightful and inquisitive person.
But as Francisco tries to leave his troubles in Harlem behind, his best friend Brandon puts his own life in danger—partly to test his own ability to hustle, and partly as a loyalty test to Francisco. Brandon is desperately needy, but also has a nihilist pragmatism about him that is both scary and sad. While Francisco tries to better himself through education, and seems to consider his friend’s cavalier thug life as childish, Brandon defends his lifestyle with a mix of defiance and defeatism: “What else are we gonna do? This is my life.”
This gritty, charming and dynamic narrative feature was created as a collaboration between director Greg Takoudes and at-risk youth at the East Harlem Tutorial Program. The screenplay is based on months-long writing workshops with the teenagers, who then starred in the movie, and—when they weren’t acting in scenes—helped crew the set.
Check out the trailer for Up With Me below.
Find out more about this event RIGHT HERE.