Harlem Diary

on October 20, 1995 by Kim Williamson
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   "This is our reality, garbage, not much....There's nothing beautiful about this, nothing at all.... A lotta people come here and say, `What a pretty view you have.' This is not pretty.'" Midway through this documentary, subtitled "Nine Voices of Resilience," a Harlem teenager (Christina Head) speaks those words as she's looking out her project-apartment window high above the tough streets below. Yet director/producer Jonathan Stack ("Damned in the USA") and writer/co-producer Terry Williams, through their interviews with a variety of Harlem youth, show that life and hope reside within the devastated landscape in the persons of youngsters much like Christina.
   "Harlem Diary" is the second theatrical for cable's Discovery Channel, which last year briefly exhibited "Mustang: The Hidden Kingdom." The exoticism of that Tibetan tale and its narration by Harrison Ford gave that doc a large-screen feel that the well- intentioned "Harlem Diary," with its format mix--video and film, black-and-white and color--and its domestic familiarity can't match. But its human impact is just as profound, whatever the scale of projection. Directed and produced by Jonathan Stack. Written by Terry Williams. A Discovery release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 96 min.
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