A new teacher, Miss Karen, is striving to connect with her students….
Time consuming, but crucial, Miss Karen knows that if she wants students to learn, knowing her students and having them trust her is paramount. This reviewer, a thirty year former teacher and public high school counselor, immediately senses this as real.
Her student, Marquel, is writing raps and working with a DJ, in addition to skateboarding and pursuing Shatira. He reads the Principal’s NEW STUDENTS label, as referring to students of color. He is especially angered by reports of the shooting of unarmed, black teen, Trayvon Martin.
In this predominantly white high school, Marquel, reports experiencing more students calling him the N-word in the halls as the election of Donald Trump nears. Passions flare. Miss Karen observing the tension about recent events suggests Shatira and Marquel lead a class discussion on racism.
Part documentary and part reenactment based on real events, SILENT ROSE is a coming of age story of high school seniors of color attending a middle-class, public school that takes place during the senior year of three teens and their friends. Inherent in this scenario are the teens coping with their lives as adolescents, living with their families, navigating the difficulties communicating with one another in romantic relationships, near-romantic relationships, friendships, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. What sets this apart from many teen stories is the politicization of these students. These teens are on the precipice of becoming adults, developing their voices, and figuring out their future. The film is a concise sixty-minute piece.
SILENT ROSE is a Story of Typical Teens in Politicized Times
Filmed mostly in black and white, documentary style, SILENT ROSE film takes its name from White Rose, the name of the non-violent student group at the University of Munich, during WWII that printed anti-Nazi pamphlets calling for the German people to rise up against the Third Reich. It’s core members were captured 1942 and guillotined after a show trial in 1943.
The three principal students include Shatira, who likes to take photographs. She doesn’t know how it will fit into her future and can’t put into words why she enjoys photography so much. The other two student characters are Diego and Marquel, who skateboard together. Diego is more into girls and tries to offer Marquel advice on dating Shatira.
Apart from the day to day lives of the students, the high school is preparing for high stakes testing and the Principal admonishes the staff in a meeting to prepare for the test. Teachers on a break explain to Miss Karen that last year it took them six-weeks of teaching to prepare for the testing while welcoming NEW STUDENTS into their school.
Into this pressure cooker of adolescence strains happening in a school with unresolved racial tensions an incident occurs that requires a lockdown.
It’s not a drill.
The students sequester against the walls waiting for the all clear.
A perfect storm ensues.
SILENT ROSE is good story telling and goes beyond being a documentary. PTP recommends SILENT ROSE for movie goers that enjoy coming-of-age films, independent films, and documentaries. While SILENT ROSE is a serious film it is not somber and SPOILER ALERT, ends on a hopeful note. Viewers will find it engaging and heartfelt as it examines pressing topics of our time.
View SILENT ROSE for free
Picture This Post Documentary Reviews RoundUp --Our Top Picks
Photos courtesy of SILENT ROSE Film
Marquel Alexander, Diego Bateman, Shatira Herrera, GerRee Hinshaw, Karen Slack, Nik Velimirovic
Shane Boris producer
Britta Erickson producer
Karl Kister executive producer
Evan Shapiro executive producer
Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens
Film Editing by
Brian Johnson Additional Sound Mixer
Jason McDaniel re-recording mixer
Matthew Polis sound designer
Camera and Electrical Department
Zachary Armstrong Additional Cinematography
Alex Fountain assistant editor
Tim Kaminski assistant editor
Peder Morgenthaler colorist
Caleb Andrew Ward assistant editor
About Caryn Hoffman
Ms. Hoffman has a degree in art and her life’s work has been environmentally and politically focused. After community organizing on both coasts, she had a career as an educator in Southern California. Now, semi-retired, Ms. Hoffman leads an active, outdoor lifestyle, continues to advocate for the environment and travels. She is especially fond of art, film, cultural events and is an ardent, live music fan. She loves adventure travel including camping, hiking, kayaking, rafting and road biking.