Friday, November 6, 2009

Surfwise (2007)

Too close for comfort? Documentary explores the life of Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, a Jewish Stanford-educated doctor turned nomad with his tribe of nine children and wife. The eleven lived in their 24-foot trailer, traveling along the coastlines surfing. The kids didn't attend school. Doc believed money was the root of evil in the world so they didn't have much. He felt it was better to educate his family with the experiences of life on the road. He didn't allow junk food in their diet. One son said he tried junk food at friends' homes. The kids recalled how friends would comment about how they wished Doc was their dad and how cool it was they lived like this, while the Paskowitz kids suffered, desiring a stable, stationary home with an everyday life.The eight boys and one girl lived on the road until their late teens when the exodus began. First son had become like the enforcer and wasn't well liked by all the siblings. Some of them learned that without formal education, they had a hard time integrating into the real world. The eldest had dreams of becoming a doctor but it would have taken many years to make up for the years of no formal education. A few of them made it big in surfing. The family later opened a surf school. Lots of strife ensued as kids split and exposed their years of live on the road.

In the end, the family meets, putting their rifts aside. Interestingly, most of the kids complain at one point or another how much they hated growing up that way, yet they all can marvel at the many great things they gleamed from the experience. In fact, one son states he'd like to embark on a similar experience with his own family. Go figure. At times, we hate experiences as they are occurring; other times, some of the hated bits play into the fondest of memories. Despite your feelings, see this fascinating documentary.

Writer/Director: Doug Pray

Country: US

Genre: Documentary

Run time: 93 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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