There is nothing left of the American dream on the Nine — a solemn destination, a resting place for those who have relinquished the dream. Modesto is a city that lies in California’s Central Valley, a region devastated during America’s Great Depression. Modesto’s notorious South Ninth Street – the Nine – is a no man’s land where the rules of polite society do not apply. The people living along the Nine form a ravaged micro community whose Darwinian existence is a day to day hustle, and survival is by any means necessary. Kiki, however, is the rare bright light whose magnetic optimism is a means of self-preservation. Her childlike enthusiasm belies the stark reality that surrounds her. THE NINE, filmed in an elegiac style, honors the casualties of a broken system-people who might otherwise be forgotten. Like a Townes Van Zandt song, THE NINE is a film about the beauty of those who fall by the wayside, a bittersweet country ballad that feels at times like a lost page by John Steinbeck or William Faulkner.
- Katy Grannan, Hannah Hughes