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Tribeca 2019 Film Review: “After Parkland” (2018) ★★★★


Beautiful and innovative twenty-first century. It has so many beautiful and advanced technologies to offer. With all the endless and truly outstanding possibilities we have in our hand, we still fail to do one little thing and the most important one – to protect our little children. Aren’t we all tired of listening to the same news all over again? One school shooting in the US after another. The number of killed children is growing faster than the blink of an eye. Yet, there are politicians continuously sending their thoughts and prayers when there is one solution required from them – to ban weapons for all.

February 14, 2018, will be marked as a day which changed the life of every student, their family members, and the employees of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Not even a single person, when they started their day same as all the previous one – with laughter, eagerness to learn something new, and after an exhausting but productive day at school, to hang out with friends and families. However, not all happened the way it should have. A gunman enters the school to spend a bit more than six minutes with one single agenda he had in his mind – to kill as many people as he can.

It took him a bit more than six minutes to claim seventeen promising lives and seventeen more staff members to send hospital injured. This film follows the family members, their way of coping the great loss they suffered, the healing process, and the changes they demand which, as you already know, turned out into one of the largest protests in the US called as the March for lives. As the tragedy itself reminds us of how one event can ruin lives, it also shows, through those tragedies, the new opportunities coming up, the voices that were suppressed before began being heard as the new generation Americans know for sure who they need to vote in or vote out in the upcoming election.

The film, however, directed by Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman does not tell the story of all the seventeen killed but rather focuses on Oliver, Pollack family, Dilon McCooty, Samuel Zeif, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez and Joaquin Oliver’s girlfriend. Throughout the emotional journey, Manuel Oliver, Joaquin’s dad and graffiti artist, creates a non-profit organization called Change the Ref, aiming at changing the political course of the White House and its leader that is literally being supported by the NRA who have no intention of giving up the most important profit-making business they have – selling guns to public.

In the end, the Importance of “After Parkland” is enormous. More importantly, it clearly highlights the issues American politicians have – a big disconnect with reality and the lack of understanding of loss such as losing a child at a place where they’re meant to gain knowledge so that in the future they could represent their country worldwide. Having that said, stories like these will make you think, go deeper into the issue that may eventually trigger a positive action as it did with all the students during the March for their life. But did that change something? The film unapologetically emphasizes that as well – no, not at all. But it will, when every citizen gives up his gun voluntarily and refuses to buy a new one. But with what we’ve seen in the film and observed in a real life, it does not seem to be happening any time soon, and frankly may never happen at all.

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