The Unpolished [DVD]
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Pia Marais' award-winng film is one of the most startling and assured feature debuts of recent years. Stevie, a wild but fiercely-intelligent 14-year old girl at the emotional heart of the film, must cope with the instabilities of her hippy parents. When they move to a small town in Germany, Stevie attempts to slip into a normal life. Whilst her parents escape their responsibilities, spending their days high, hooking up deals and filling the house with hangers-on, Stevie tries to make an impression on her new schoolmates, spreading stories of an imaginary and ideally-conventional homelife. An unblinking study of a girl caught up in a complicated adult world, THE UNPOLISHED also presents an ambivalent image of the fall-out from a counter-culture gone bad. What shines through is the resourcefulness of a girl who deserves, and is determined to get, something better, as Stevie makes the real journey towards maturity and independence that her parents ought to have made years ago. THE UNPOLISHED is humanist filmmaking of the highest order.
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Top Customer Reviews
Stevie accordingly has two lives - the one she fantasises for herself and the reality. If your life was like Stevie's, you'd dream one for yourself as well. Her family situation is anything but ideal. Her mother's a junkie and her father has just been released from a long term in prison, and with the family being in the "import-export" business - drug dealing between Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Germany - it's far from the conventional upbringing or stable environment a maturing 14 year old girl would wish for.
Stevie isn't unaffected by all this. She's trying to fit in with the local kids and get herself back into school, but it's not easy, so she tries to create a fictitious and glamorous background for herself, but the world she lives in and the actions of her parents have an unfortunate way of bringing her back down to reality. Without the proper role-models, and without anyone of her own age to confide in, she gets uncomfortably close to one of her parents' friends and business associates.
The Unpolished can then be uncomfortable viewing, but it's only by showing the dangers that the viewer can come to understand and sympathise with Stevie's predicament.Read more ›