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Friday April 25, 2014
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The New Hoosiers

 

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Thus begins "Medora," a documentary about an Indiana high school basketball team's struggle to overcome an epic losing streak. Produced in association with Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci's Olive Productions, the film was inspired by a 2009 article in the New York Times that details the attempts of the southern Indiana town of Medora to keep hope alive in spite of their team's previous 0-22 season. Directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart embedded themselves in the town for several months and acquired hundreds of hours of footage that they edited down to 82 minutes of sheer drama that plays like a narrative feature.

At one point, after a player gets kicked off the team, one of the filmmakers follows him as he lingers about town and eventually comes to rest on a playground swing and muses: "Getting on the ball team and getting kicked off, that's had to be the most devastating thing that's happened to me. It's like the world just like stops. It's like life stops. It's my fault is what it is. I don't know, I just wanted, I wanted to at least win one game. Hopes and dreams, they can let you down."

Heartbreaking observations like these are interspersed with shots of a once thriving town decaying amidst the bleak yet picturesque farm country of Indiana. Townspeople come forth to attest to the glorious past, and old black and white super-8 footage backs their stories up with glimpses of dominant basketball teams that were easy to rally behind.

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