July 25, 2007


Print More

Deep within the Art Zone, Beijing artists were treated to a sweet little droplet of New York culture last week as no fewer than one Tribeca Film Festival entry made the trek to the Orient. Frantic jumps and twistings spliced with affecting family dramas made up Planet B-Boy, the breakdancing documentary that entirely comprised the Beijing 798 Film Festival.

Organizers went multimedia, coupling a live breakdancing performance with the showing, in an attempt to bring the action out of the screen and to the people. And while the event was a ringing success, with smilers and imitators all around, one could not wonder why this ‘festival’ consisted of one film only. Might this have been the sole Tribeca entry deemed passable by the censors?

Either way, it was a fun night for all, even a bit of a scene. The crowd was sexy and largely Western and that made me feel cool. The film was sexy and fully global; it traced national breakdancing teams from around the world as they worked towards the Battle of the Year competition in Germany.

It comes in a format we’ve seen before–footage of and interviews with the teams as they head towards the competition. A crew of South Koreans won because they were the best at breakdancing.

Yes, the film was straightforward and yes, it spoke in the same old tone of hip-hop is global youth-y free cultural expression that feels more futile each time I hear it. Problem is, I love hip-hop, I’m just afraid I don’t know why. It’s a hard-to-defend passion, sorry if that’s paradoxical. But this has less and less to do with the film, which was memorable. You should watch it.