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film review

Filmed with intimacy over almost a decade, Quest is the moving portrait of an American family living in North Philadelphia.

At the beginning of Jonathan Olshefski's documentary Quest, the Rainey family of North Philadelphia are living in the hopeful beginnings of former president Barack Obama's United States. At the end, they find themselves entering President Donald Trump's era of "Making America Great Again."

Over the course of eight years, Olshefski's fly-on-the-wall cameras track the African-American clan – father Christopher, better known by his hip-hop moniker Quest; mother Christine'a; their daughter , P.J.; Christine'a's grown son, suffering from a brain tumour; and a host of surrogate children who come in and out of their lives thanks to Christopher's in-home recording studio – through ups and downs, promises made and broken, obstacles both clear and invisible.

There is no grand narrative or point to be hammered home; instead, Olshefski delivers a subtle, sincere and honest portrait of barely making ends meet in modern America.

Quest should be required viewing for anyone hoping to understand the current racial and economic disparity plaguing the West.

Quest opens Feb. 24 in Toronto.

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