(Benson Lee, US, 2007) 101min
This article is from 2007.
Breakdancing has come a long way in the 30 years since its rise alongside hip hop and graffiti in the housing projects of New York City. After enjoying a fleeting popularisation in music videos and kitsch movies of the mid-1980s, an international, roots-orientated underground movement has sprung up latterly that is yet to break the surface of wider acknowledgement or understanding.
Canadian-born Korean-American writer/director/producer Benson Lee’s snappy documentary owes something to the creative approach of Dogtown & Z-Boys as it draws back the curtain on this resurgent scene, legitimising the now spectacular, all-encompassing dance form through talking heads and archive footage. Lee’s cameras then follow four national teams of b-boys as they make their way to Germany for the Battle of the Year in pursuit of glory, sponsorship, and above all, recognition for their art from mystified families and home communities.
The outrageous acrobatics of the participants, combined with a stone-cold funk soundtrack and choppy editing make for an instantly thrilling spectacle, but it is the humour and pathos unearthed in the lives and trials of today’s young b-boys that make this such a heartwarming, worthy and worthwhile documentary, with the final battle providing a gripping cinematic climax. (Mark Edmundson)
Cineworld, 623 8030, 18 Aug, 1.50pm & 19 Aug, 10.10pm, both £7.95 (£5.50).