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The Boys of Baraka

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If only because of HBO’s The Wire, we have a good idea of what blighted lives look like from the windows of Baltimore’s inner-city projects. The 12- and 13-year-olds we meet in this P.O.V. installment have fathers in prison, dealers on the corner, bullets in the street, and public schools so ludicrously inadequate that leaving for Africa is a better bet. Courtesy of a private foundation and scholarships, Devon, Montrey, Richard, Romesh, and sixteen others plan to spend their seventh and eighth grades in rural Kenya, without fast food or TV but in a school where the student-teacher ratio is five to one, and from which three quarters of the previous scholarship boys emerged with confidence to graduate from American high schools. There are difficulties along the way, none of them slighted in this award-winning documentary, as well as a surprise at the end that’s as sobering to the viewer as it is to the children.

Channel 13, September 12, 10 p.m.


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