EMPz 4 Life

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Movie Info

EMPz is the nickname the residents of a Toronto suburb have given to their neighborhood, a community largely populated by low-income African-Canadians who struggle against the crime and violence that has become commonplace in their town. Brian Harvey is a community activist who works with at-risk youth in EMPz, setting up tutoring programs, after-school activities, free breakfasts for lower-income children and other programs in an effort to make a better life for young people, though he emphasizes that teenagers have to change their own minds about guns and gangs before their problems can begin to resolve themselves. Many young people in EMPz, however, feel they're engaged in a losing battle to reclaim their neighborhood given the attitudes of police and city officials about their community (several talk about being pulled over by traffic cops for "driving while black"). Veteran documentary filmmaker Allan King brought his camera crew to the EMPz during 2005, described as "the year of the gun" by the Canadian news media, and followed the efforts of Harvey and his compatriots to make a difference in a community that many in the city of Toronto had given up on. EMPz 4 Life received its world premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for EMPz 4 Life

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (2)

  • Allan King and trusted collaborators reveal the lock-down world of four black Toronto teens on the cusp of losing a school year, and the adults... who help them stay on track.

    Sep 23, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
    Globe and Mail
    Top Critic
  • This pic finds 76-year-old King continuing at the top of his game.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Full Review…

    Eddie Cockrell

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • ...the majority of these teens remain unsympathetic and flat-out disagreeable...

    Sep 8, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for EMPz 4 Life

I believe this was Allan King's final documentary and it is a fitting end to a stellar career. Growing up in Scarborough, you can't help but be aware of the issues between the police and the black community in the north. The work of Brian Harvey is a ray of hope in a community stuck in a cycle of crime.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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