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Remember that special growing-up year in your life? When you had your first real adventure, discovered love, faced an enemy, withstood the death of a loved one, stood up for a principle, backed a friend? Maybe, like Newt Winger’s growing-up year, it was all of them. A personal triumph for director-producer-writer-composer Gordon Parks (adapting his novel), The Learning Tree traces one watershed year in the life of young Newt (Kyle Johnson), in which he learns about love, fear, violent racial injustice and, during an emotional murder trial, his own capacity for honor. “Most important of all,” Parks said, “he learns that hating is a waste of valuable energy.” Poignant, passionate and powerful, The Learning Tree will make you smile, break your heart and heal your spirit.

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WAA31698 Learning Tree DVD (1969/Gordon Parks) $19.99