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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Devil's Playground

Devil's Playground in a provactive and eye opening documentary concerning the amish tradition of Rumspringa. Rumspringa happens when a Amish youth turns 16, they are permitted to experience the English world without restrictions. Over a span of a few months to a few years, the Amish youths must make the decision to either be baptized Amish or to leave the community.

I always though Amish teens were as straight-laced and godfearing as their parents. It's shocking to see these kids smoking, doing drugs, and essentially living a life that we often take for granted.

The film follows a handful of these teens, some choose to leave while others choose to become Amish. They even follow the lives of teens stuck in the middle including a girl who was baptised but left, therefore being shunned. To be shunned is to be turned away from your family.

Another kid, Faron Yoder is the center of the film. An Amish youth who has to fight his addiction to drugs and torn between the choice to join the church or live the English life. His is the most touching story as he appears lost and eager to find some sembelence of a happy life.

This film I reccomend to anyone unfamiliar with the Amish culture but eager to learn. Also of interest in the book Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish by Tom Schactman. It's definitely a great companion piece to this movie.