The one thing you should see this week
 
 
Today we launch a new column from our culture editor, Stéphanie Verge, who’ll let us in on the week’s must-see event every Monday.

This week’s pick: Sons of Perdition

There’s no going home for a child who can say with unflinching certainty that according to his family, "It would have been better for me to die than to leave." The bewilderment that stems from giving up everything permeates Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten’s heartrending documentary about three teens who leave the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and are left twisting in the wind of their newfound freedom.

Sam, his cousin Bruce and their friend Joe grew up in Colorado City, otherwise known as The Crick, on the Utah-Arizona border. Controlled by Warren Jeffs, the now-incarcerated head of the FLDS, The Crick is populated by ultra-conservative Mormons who send their boys to work instead of school and marry off their underage daughters to older men with multiple wives. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 boys and men have been sent away from The Crick—ostensibly because of their rebellious natures, though whittling down the number of rivals for the women is another glaring factor.

Most of the exiled find their way to St. George, and while it’s a mere 30 miles away from their hometown, it may as well be on a different planet. The former FLDSers band together, navigating a reality that now includes sex, drugs, drinking and pop culture. An avid drawer, 17-year-old Joe has never heard of comic books and (rather hilariously) confuses Bill Clinton with Hitler. His older sister admits (less hilariously) to not knowing the capital of the United States.

Interviews with former sect members, private investigators and journalists provide another layer to the doc, but the story belongs to The Crick’s lost boys, its sons of perdition. With their piercings, flat-brim caps and incessant hair dyeing, Sam, Joe and Bruce’s apparent ordinariness is what’s most affecting. In truth, they are affection-starved children who tell social workers "I love you" and call a benefactor’s wife "Mother." They don’t know how to cook or clean. They don’t have ID. They can barely read and write. But there they are, trying to rally, when all they’ve been taught, as one boy says, is how to think about the next life. Not the one they are now facing, alone.

The details: Doc Soup season launch. Wednesday, Oct. 6, 6:30 and 9:15 p.m. $12. Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-5150, hotdocs.ca.
 
TorontoLife.com
Originally published Monday, October 4, 2010
 
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