The Nine. 2016. USA. Directed by Katy Grannan. 98 min.
The stretch of South Ninth Street in Modesto, California, known as “the Nine” is home to some of society’s most anonymous and invisible, those who have fallen through the cracks—some down on their luck, and others in more desperate straits, nursing drug habits or selling their bodies to get through another day. But in Katy Grannan’s generous documentary this place is seen more poetically, as a way station in which moments of beauty and hope can coexist with despair (especially as embodied by Kiki, the film’s central character and guiding voice). Noted photographer Grannan has made an exciting artistic leap with her first feature film, which evolved from her past few years taking street portraits of some of the same individuals who appear in the film.