David Williams’ movie “Thirteen” belongs to a burgeoning genre that determinedly blurs the line between fiction and documentary filmmaking. Largely improvised, with no screenplay and featuring a cast that includes untrained actors as well as professionals, this portrait of a sullen, quirky 13-year-old black girl growing up in Richmond, Va., feels utterly real during much (though not all) of its 87 minutes.
Nina (Wilhamenia Dickens), the movie’s unsmiling central character, is a tomboyish adolescent who shortly after her 13th birthday becomes withdrawn and stops speaking. One day she simply disappears from the house where she lives with her salty, God-fearing mother, Lillian (Lillian Folley), who narrates the film. When Nina reappears several days later from an autumnal trek into the Virginia mountains, she is a bit less glum than before.
While she wanders through the countryside contemplating her life, Nina decides that the one thing she wants more than anything is to own a car. Much of the rest of the film follows her around as she futilely tries to earn enough money to buy one. She applies for various entry-level jobs, works as a baby sitter, cares for people’s pets and sits for a portrait painted by a mediocre local artist.
907MB | 1h 22m | 720×540 | mkv