Photographer Katy Grannan’s first feature film portrays the ravaged “invisible America” her still work consistently seeks to reveal. In what might be described as a dramatic documentary that crosses genres à la Larry Clark’s Kids and Mary Ellen Mark’s Streetwise, The Nine focuses on the dreams, despairs and aspirations held by Kiki, a sex worker living in a rundown motel complex on South Ninth Street, aka “The Nine,” in Modesto, California.
Life in this modern-day purgatory is a Darwinian struggle for Kiki and her damaged companions, yet their hardships are leavened by homespun philosophy and innocent escapism as well as the needle. Through her dialogue with Grannan, we learn about Kiki’s life, her delusions of financial rescue and her search for God. Grannan’s luminous visual aesthetic incorporates cinema vérité-like scenes of drama, emotional masquerade and sound overlays. As with the best of novelist Dave Eggers, the result is a microcosmic study of human aspiration and resilience.
Director Katy Grannan in person
Producer: Katy Grannan, Marc Smolowitz | Editor: Stephen Berger | Cinematographer: Katy Grannan