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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.