Written/Directed by Riad Galayini
Run Time: 18:22
Starring: Kendra McCulty; Kendall McCulty, and James Morrison
Crossing opens with a young girl, Amanda (Kendra McCulty) smoking on the front porch watching her cat who has decamped to live with the neighbor across the street. When her little brother (Kendall McCulty) says he’s going to tell, her "who you gonna tell" says it all. This is a little girl who’s seen too much too young who has lost hope that things can really get better. Even her cat has left home to live with the neighbors across the street realizing that he can do better.
Amanda feeds her brother from a bare fridge while her father (James Morrison) is passed out on the living room couch. She and her brother entertain themselves watching TV in the evenings afraid to bring friends home to their drunken father. Her contact to better days is an old box with a few photos of her mother and a hairbrush that she brings out late at night and out of sight of her father.
When he does stir himself off the couch to go out to drink, he wins a few dollars gambling. What he doesn’t spend on a new bottle to drink away, he brings home to the kids and for a few moments, there is laughter as he and the children dance in the shower of money he tosses around. They dance and the first genuine happiness echoes in their laughter until the father crashes to the floor. His drunken laughter silences the children’s as they stare down at the only protector they have left. Amanda reads her brother to sleep and then goes to cover her father where he still lays on the living room floor.
The next night he’s taking back his windfall from Amanda’s money jar. The day after that they return from school to find the house empty, the furniture and TV gone, as her father says, the winning streak is over.
Several nights later he’s yelling at Amanda looking for a bottle – any bottle will do at this point. He finally realizes how much he’s scaring his children as he collapses to the floor and sees them huddling under the table hiding from him. Amanda as always, cleans him off and tries to get him to eat something. This time though, she doesn’t leave him until morning, but calls for an ambulance. He’s taken away.
She then calls the only other adult in her life, her teacher (Riad Galayini) who comes to pick up the children. The little boy is convinced that this is only temporary, but Amanda’s face tells a different story, she’s tired and is letting her father’s pain go.
In contrast to her Nude Descending, Galayini shot Crossing minimally with few sets, few extras, and little color. There are no sweeping shots or staccato movements of energy and life; the camera is largely fixed with few moving shots. The effect narrows the world of this little girl down to a claustrophobic tightness. Baring the initial scene on the porch, even the outdoor shots of this family’s home are in shadow not direct sunlight, dulling down the world, the sunlight is across the street. This isn’t a happy world and the film reflects the deprivation of these children’s lives down to Amanda’s reusing a too small piece of aluminum foil to wrap lunch sandwiches in the morning.
Kendra McCulty brings sadness to her work that you can only hope she’s not experienced in her real life. James Morrison is solid as the drunk who spends half his scenes on couch, the rest in either an alcoholic high or low. His scene in the kitchen while he’s hunting for more alcohol is chilling. His caged anger bounces off the walls and like the children, you want to hide.
Visit CROSSING site at http://www.crossingmovie.com/
This review and captured pictures is provided solely as a record of James Morrison's work as an actor, and does not intend or imply any infringement of any copyrights or trademark.