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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Ken Ochiai
Written by
Ken Ochiai (based upon story by Maya Kanehara)
Avery Dennis, Hunter Dennis, Ikuma Ando
Running Time
22 Mins.

 "Half Kenneth" Review 
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There's no denying the power of the story of the Japanese Relocation Camps utilized by the United States during World War II. While it's easy to understand the hysteria that accompanies war, it's just the type of action that seems more suited to another country- certainly not the land of the "free." Despite the inherent power of this story, there's an overwrought reverence in Ken Ochiai's "Half Kenneth" that will make the film a challenging view for anyone but those truly engrossed by the subject matter.

In "Half Kenneth," Kenneth (Avery Dennis) is an adolescent Japanese-American who has been imprisoned in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp for three years when his father passes away in the camp. Rather than resign himself to yet another relocation, Kenneth decides to escape and seek out his caucasian mother, however, he's surprised when his little brother (Hunter Dennis) follows him on the adventure and the two of them make a surprising discovery.

While "Half Kenneth," an AFI thesis film, is an interesting story, it's weighted down by the solemnity of the performances and the slow, sweeping shots that only serve to reinforce the aforementioned reverence that permeates the film's 22-minute runtime.

    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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