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The We and the I 2012

NR CC
4.4 out of 5 stars (8) IMDb 6.1/10

From Director Michel Gondry, an unadulterated glimpse into the dynamic lives of a group of teenagers who ride the same bus route.

Starring:
Michael Brodie, Teresa Lynn
Runtime:
1 hour, 44 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Michel Gondry
Starring Michael Brodie, Teresa Lynn
Supporting actors Raymond Delgado, Jonathan Ortiz, Jonathan Scott Worrell, Alex Raul Barrios, Laidychen Carrasco, Meghan Murphy, Chenkon Carrasco, Jacob Carrasco, Konchen Carrasco, Raymond Rios, Kenneth Quinones, Amanda Mercado, Manuel Rivera, Jillian Rice, Chantelle-Lisa Davis, Brandon Diaz, Luis Figueroa, Marlene Perez
Studio GoDigital
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Format: DVD
Michel Gondry's follow-up to the 2011 action movie "The Green Hornet" is something of a cinematic and social experiment. In his latest work "The We and the I" a group of New York high school students (all played by non-professional teenagers) travel on a city bus. Set on a fictional bus line BX66, the film follows the stories of the ensemble characters crammed in the same bus - those energetic students after school, often noisy and even rude.

Michael (Michael Brodie) and Big T (Jonathan Worrell) are the loudest, taking up the back row. Laidychen (Laidychen Carrasco) and Niomi (Meghan Murphy) are busy deciding who to invite to the party. At first the bus is like a chaos, with so much pent-up energy of these students. The school tear is over.

Over the course of the afternoon bus ride, however, as the school kids get off the bus one after another, the bus ride becomes something different - something quiet and pensive, with some of the students showing another side of their personalities.

This is not a documentary but a fictional drama. For this unique film Michel Gondry based his screenplay on the interviews with the teenagers he recruited at the Bronx community center "The Point." The film keeps a fine balance between real and fantasy, with vivid sketches of the teenagers, while the bus journey itself makes for a metaphor.

The film begins with too many narrative threads to follow, busily shifting between them. Not every thread is interesting, I must say. Some threads just fade away as the bus travels on. Some brief flashbacks (with Gondry's whimsical visual style) cut in.

"The We and the I" is a snapshot of these high school students, snapshot that is spontaneous, experimental and lively. Bumpy at times but seldom boring, the bus ride is worth taking.
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Format: DVD
THE WE AND THE I (2012, 103 minutes) is one of the weirdest, most memorable films I have ever seen. An obnoxious bunch of 16-year-olds catch the city bus home from their last day of school before summer vacation. This is almost a home-movie manner of shooting and shows kids ... well, being kids.

I am still not certain if I can endure that--yet I did, twice now. The film is, after all, extremely artfully shot and I can't fathom how the director managed it. It takes place in real time, as the kids ride their way through the nastiest part of the Bronx imaginable on this horrendous bus. When this film was new, I somehow caught snatches of it but I just watched it in its entirety--and the funny thing is, as irritating as it is, it managed to stick in my mind.

This focuses on select groups of kids who of course all know one another. I was most moved, of course, by the gay couple who broke up while riding the bus. There was something they were trying in their relationship to become closer, and it was one of the most astonishing things I have ever heard of ... and therein lies the beauty of this film in my opinion.

Kids are beautiful, no matter how ugly they try to behave or how loud and obnoxious they become. If we peer closely enough, we see ourselves. This film is not for everybody and I'm not at all certain this type of arthouse thing is really intended for anyone except those who made it and the kids who acted in it.

A few things bear detailing: it's purely cinematic genius level detailing. This movie is filmed almost entirely on a moving Bronx bus, on location--all the acting, the drama and humor, is set on this obviously moving bus. Imagine the editing, the artful eyes and the discipline everyone demonstrated here.
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Format: DVD
I have only seen this film once, and expect subsequent viewings to reveal more layers of complexity. I am too boggled and besotted this morning after to do more than list the ways one might love this film.
I was at first upset that the film is not on Blu Ray, but be assured that the DVD is very well done, and looks fine, even beautiful on a big screen TV.
First, from my perch in mainly white suburbia, I appreciate the intimacy that permits me to gaze carefully at all the different shades and shapes of people who ride the bus on the trip home after the last day of high school. Ken Kesey's Kool-Aid Acid bus could not contain more physical and psychic diversity. Just compare this film to American Graffiti to see how far we have come in the presentation of adolescent emotional realism on film.
Second, is the miracle of film editing that concatenates fluctuating tender affects and nasty impulses into a coherent unfolding. See this film less as plot or character driven than as a collage of emotions finding their voice just as instruments express emotions as sonic textures in orchestral music. Or perhaps better, think of the editing of this film as like a basketball game, in which emotions are passed around as quickly as the heart can follow.
Third is the unexpected ending, which deserves a chapter length essay by itself, as one ponders whether the final pair are likely to find happiness, despair, or wisdom. A boy and a girl find each other at the end, in the dark of night (what a long bus ride) -- but is that progress, or a Hollywood ending?
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