Saturday, October 21, 2006

How do you say "Wow." in Pennsylvania Dutch?

Devil's Playground is a 2002 documentary about the Amish tradition of rumspringa, which translates into "running around". The Amish believe that a person around the age of 16 has the right to choose whether or not they want to stay in the Amish church, forever shirking modern stuff like hair dryers, Direct TV, and beer, and therefore are released from Amish restrictions and are sent out to "explore" the non-Amish, or "English" world. They can opt to wear modern clothes, drive cars, experiment with alcohol or drugs, and can question all that they know and their lives thusfar. It's rather amazing and A LOT of trust put forth by the elders of the Amish communities, but with a 90% rate of teens returning to the church after an average two years of unlimited hedonism (and coming in with a clean slate and total acceptance of the past as past), they must be doing something right. This film follows four or five Amish teens as they go through the process. It's kinda scary to watch at some points, but, heck, if these kids' parents have faith, so can I.

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