Kids of Survival

on September 05, 1996 by Dale Winogura
   Inspiring and affecting but not overly manipulative, "Kids of Survival" (subtitled "The Art and Life of Tim Rollins & K.O.S.") sensitively deals with personal and financial problems of education and how today's youth can be empowered by a caring, compassionate teacher. Tim Rollins' class of 10 teenagers in a South Bronx school is scrupulously depicted in matter-of-fact cinema verite as they work together to create unique paintings, using classic works of literature like Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage" and George Orwell's "Animal Farm" as artistic inspiration and canvas.
   The difficulties of teaching troubled and/or learning-impaired children are squarely confronted by directors Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, with occasional visits to their subjects' homes. They make the vital therapeutic connection between art and life with uplifting perceptions, but the video technique they employ tends to be a bit too prosaic to reach into the souls of these special people. It's a small flaw, but a significant one. Starring Tim Rollins. Directed and produced by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine. A Geller/Goldfine release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 87 min.
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