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Now & Then: From Frosh to Seniors

     College kids feel at ease with the empathetic filmmaking team of Dan Geller and Danya Goldfine. Their Frosh: Nine Months in a Freshman Dorm was such an agreeably non-judgmental peak behind the scenes at Stanford University that they continued on with a documentary sequel. Now & Then: From Frosh to Seniors, another triumph, takes the same ten or so students featured in the first work and brings them up through graduation. How, as seniors stepping into careers and sweating grad school, have they changed from the nervous, giggly frosh, squeezed arbitrarily in the same dorm?

     The three African-American students moved on a path away from white friendships. An insecure sports-obsessed guy rose to be president of his fraternity. A Chinese-American obsessed at 18 with business and banking graduated to an anxious career in the monetary world. The openly bisexual freshman realized in the passing three years that he's gay, truly gay.

     There's a temptation to compare the project of Geller/Goldfine with the British 28-Up series but there's no aim to compete with the scope of Michael Apted's monumental examination of England's class system. Still, Now & Then has its tiny, stirring epiphanies: the slightly ditsy, immature blonde who, before our eyes, turns into a serious, articulate Feminist Studies major; the out-of-her-element-at-Stanford African-American girl (her mother is a crack addict) who becomes, miraculously, the only senior at this elite school allowed to teach her own course.

(April, 2000)


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