Saved by the Bell

A new doc finds simple joy in grade school

We could go on and on about why life was better in elementary school. That pizza -- no more than flat dough and ground beef -- was glorious. The Elmer's glue never made us sick, and don't even get us started on recess. So it's no surprise that when filmmaker Pamela Peak was suffering a bit of a midlife crisis, she decided to go back to school.

Peak tracked down all 32 members of her grade-school class for her documentary Colorblind. In the film, Peak, now reunited with her classmates, sets out to find their teacher Mr. Bell. The students, all white, credit Bell, an African-American, with shaping their lives, especially after the race riots of 1967 in their hometown of Detroit. It's a heartwarming, poignant meeting, especially when Bell, now in his seventies, is able to remember all of the students' names and what they wanted to be when they grew up. The critics' darling of a film, which screens today at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, was named best documentary at the California Independent Film Festival. (Other CIFF winners also will be featured at today's screening.) Catch the flick today, and you'll no doubt be longing for chalkboard dust and nap time. 3 p.m. 1000 West Oaks Mall, suite 429. For tickets and information, call 281-920-9211 or visit www.drafthouse.com/westoaks. $10.
Sun., Jan. 29

 
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