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June 21, 2004 // UPDATED 2:11 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'It All Starts Today'

"Kindergarten Cop" meets "Dangerous Minds" in the French movie "It All Starts Today."

Stricken by a 34 percent poverty level, a town in Northern France is plagued with chaos, death and apathy. And kindergarteners, the quiet victims of the closures of coalmines and collective nonchalance, are being neglected. Their education suffers from the mayor's lethargy, inadequate social services and irresponsible parents.

Principal/teacher Daniel strives to help "the system" remember its children, and tries to lift up one impoverished mother in particular. But when she can't pay the bills, she runs away -- and Daniel collects her abandoned kids. He quickly finds that the system hurts more than it helps, and begins to organize for change with other teachers.

"It All Starts Today" implies two things: yes, all hell breaks loose today, but today is also the day that everything changes. The movie underscores Daniel's courage in tough circumstances and the blessing of hardworking teachers.

Friday, June 25, 7 p.m.

Alliance de Francaise, 113 N. 1st St.

Free ($5 suggested donation).

332-0436.

African American Lecture

Authors Charisse Jones and Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden illuminate the tectonic-plate-like lives of African American women in America -- who're always in the process of shifting their identities and defining characteristics according to social dictates, from hairstyle to walk -- in their book, "Shifting: the Double Lives of Black Women in America."

This is the story of 400 women who talk about ordinary life: romantic relationships, kids, careers and beauty. It is a conversation about things we confront daily.

Their tales testify to the psychology of black women, addressing those who work overtime and deny themselves for the sake of others while grappling with racism, sexism, office politics and other issues.

Their testimonies show how identity gets sucked into a vacuum: Being black is a part-time occupation while being everything else is a full-time job.

Where do they go from there? How do we learn from their stories? Find out when Jones and Shorter-Gooden discuss their book.

Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, 30 7th St. S.

Free. 952-2555.