offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My F├╝hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: GIRLHOOD

    Girlhood

    Tension in detention

    Liz Garbus's documentary "Girlhood" about two girls behind bars in Maryland combines a compassionate eye with a sense of drama you would expect from fiction.

    By LESLIE (HOBAN) BLAKE
    Offoffoff.com

    Liz Garbus ("The Farm: Angola," "The Nazi Officer's Wife") adds wayward teen-age girls to her ever-expanding list of docu subjects.

      
    GIRLHOOD
    Directed by: Liz Garbus.
    Produced by: Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy.
    Featuring: Shanae Owens, Megan Jensen.
    Cinematography: Tony Hardmon.

    Related links: Official site
    All of Liz Garbus' docs show the same dedication to telling a story that we've quickly come to expect from her. From prisons and their inmates ("Final Judgement: The Execution of Antonio James" and "The Execution of Wanda Jean") to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust ("The Nazi Officer's Wife"), Garbus has also looked into the lives of children with "A Boy's Life" and her latest, "Girlhood."

    While the look of her docs may change with each subject, Garbus' method is always the same. If she cares about a subject, she wants us to care and we do. This time we care about two young girls on the verge of womanhood, who are locked up in Waxter, a Baltimore detention center. Garbus follows them for almost four years and records their fight against the odds.

    Girlhood  
    Shanae Owens, a young black girl, comes from a home where although she had loving and concerned parents and a doting live-in grandmother, she still ran with the wrong crowd and at the age of 11 managed to stab a friend to death with a box cutter. "Girlhood" introduces her at Waxter two years later where she is a pretty, smart and popular inmate, who is in denial about responsibilty for her crime.

    At the same time, the film also tracks Megan Jensen, an incorrigible angry, foul-mouthed bi-racial young girl whose single mother is herself serving time in prison on charges stemming from drug abuse and prostitution. Megan's at Waxter after running away from several foster homes. The societal deck would seem to be stacked from the start towards Shanae, who is well spoken and almost demure (given her circumstances and surroundings), and against Megan, who is practically a living stereotype of the kind of girl one imagines locked up in a detention center.

    It's part of Garbus' real talent that she can upend our expectations even though, with a documentary it's never really possible to predict the way it will end. As with the recent "Sister Helen," an unexpected death in "Girlhood" surprises all of us, including the filmmaker. So we follow both girls and the subtext of their lives — nature vs nurture — as each grows and changes in ways we could not have predicted. To tell more of their stories would truly spoil the dramatic impact of "Girlhood."

    Next I hope someone comes along and makes "Being Liz Garbus" — that's a documentary that would prove fascinating, given her ever-widening range of interests.

    NOVEMBER 2, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Girlhood:

  • THIS COULD MAKE AN IMPACT ON MY STUDENTS   from kathi, Dec 13, 2003
  • Amazing   from Scheherazade, Feb 2, 2004
  • Re: Amazing   from Amanda Renee, Feb 13, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Sydney, Feb 14, 2004
  • Girlhood   from Velma Smith, Feb 21, 2004
  • Girlhood   from T-T, May 31, 2004
  • Re: Girlhood   from D Sky, Jun 24, 2004
  • Re: Girlhood   from DG, Jun 25, 2004
  • Made me cry.   from Priscilla, Jun 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Alneisa, Jul 9, 2004
  • Saw Girlhood yesterday   from erb, Jul 16, 2004
  • Shanae and Megan's future   from David, Jul 17, 2004
  • Re: Shanae and Megan's future   from Nette, Nov 25, 2004
  • Re: Shanae and Megan's future   from kat, Dec 3, 2006
  • Re: Shanae and Megan's future   from harry o, Feb 19, 2010
  • Re: Shanae and Megan's future   from ORITA OXENDINE, Mar 24, 2010
  • girlhood   from twj, Jul 20, 2004
  • Girlhood   from M.P., Aug 6, 2004
  • on point   from mobtown, Aug 27, 2004
  • yoyo   from mobtown, Aug 27, 2004
  • [no subject]   from mobtown, Aug 27, 2004
  • Re: [no subject]   from yazmin, Jul 6, 2005
  • Re: [no subject]   from csmith, Feb 7, 2006
  • [no subject]   from elaine felder, Sep 24, 2004
  • girl hood   from christopher wade, Sep 24, 2004
  • Hi.   from Grecia, Sep 24, 2004
  • Shanae   from Rich, Sep 24, 2004
  • Re: Shanae   from Nette, Nov 25, 2004
  • Re: Shanae   from SLS, Feb 26, 2006
  • Re: Shanae   from , Aug 1, 2008
  • br good   from bb, Sep 24, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Joshelle Wright, Sep 24, 2004
  • Re: a year later   from Joshelle Wright, Jun 16, 2006
  • shane read this   from lloyd davis, Sep 24, 2004
  • just wanted to see how the girls are doing   from willie goldsmith, Sep 24, 2004
  • will there be a girlhood 2   from willie Goldsmith, Sep 29, 2004
  • Megan & Shanae   from Priscilla, Nov 24, 2004
  • Shane and Megan   from Ms. Almond, Nov 24, 2004
  • Hi   from Nancy, Nov 24, 2004
  • Girlhood   from DD, Nov 24, 2004
  • How are those girls doing today?   from Teresa Nunez, Nov 25, 2004
  • Re: How are those girls doing today?   from JACKIE, Dec 11, 2004
  • inspired so much   from jackie, Dec 11, 2004
  • A poem of confessions in my life   from Ka$ino reppin L.A. n ChiTown, Dec 21, 2004
  • megan -o -megan   from T-christine, Jan 7, 2005
  • moved   from jo beth gleason, Jan 7, 2005
  • megan   from jo beth gleason, Jan 7, 2005
  • a way out for Megan   from mario rivera, Jan 25, 2005
  • GirlHood Documentary   from Obnoxio, Mar 7, 2005
  • Megan   from Heather, Apr 28, 2005
  • Service learning   from Molly, May 24, 2005
  • a change   from lael, Jun 28, 2005
  • for these two amazing women...   from a.mari, Jul 28, 2005
  • Megan   from Alicia, Aug 7, 2005
  • Updates   from Kerri, Mar 15, 2006
  • This is Shanae   from Shanae, Feb 10, 2007
  • jamie to shanae   from jamie, Oct 22, 2009
  • [no subject]   from Miss Jaysha, May 11, 2006
  • Baby Megan...Is is still dark in there?   from Jacqui, May 11, 2006
  • help me please!!   from daj'ana upshaw, Mar 3, 2007
  • Shanae and Megan   from Susan Murphy, Apr 20, 2007
  • Girlhood   from michele, Oct 25, 2007
  • Re: Girlhood   from Ann Marie, Nov 17, 2008
  • Re: Girlhood   from megan, Mar 24, 2010
  • Re: Girlhood   from Melissa, May 18, 2010
  • I would love to know how they are doing   from Lindasy Kauffman, Dec 22, 2007
  • how they are now   from fanny, Feb 24, 2008
  • Megan still alive?   from Jasmine, May 18, 2008
  • Re: Megan still alive?   from , Dec 14, 2008
  • Is it true that Megan passed away?   from Asia, May 18, 2008
  • Re: Is it true that Megan passed away?   from Khalilah, Nov 29, 2008
  • To: Shanae   from Michael Rainey, Oct 28, 2008
  • Update   from Doesn't Matter, Nov 13, 2008
  • megans my older sister   from tina marie, Dec 14, 2008
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Dina, Jan 3, 2009
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Mimi, Jan 11, 2009
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Jayleen, Jan 30, 2009
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Johnny, Feb 20, 2009
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Cecilia, May 20, 2009
  • Re: megans my older sister   from Brier, Feb 23, 2009
  • Yo   from Redz , Feb 12, 2009
  • You Go!   from Officer in California, Apr 15, 2009
  • I recently rented this movie at Blockbuster   from Janice, Aug 17, 2009
  • girlhood update 2009   from Cecilia Bella, Nov 24, 2009
  • Re: girlhood update 2009   from Musa Willie, Oct 10, 2010
  • Re: girlhood update 2009   from Totta, Jan 9, 2011
  • [no subject]   from ORITA OXENDINE, Mar 24, 2010
  • Re: [no subject]   from Melissa, May 18, 2010
  • Megan   from Miranda Gonzales, Feb 4, 2012
  • [no subject]   from supertramp, Feb 10, 2012

  • Post a comment on "Girlhood"