Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|03.13.07||Paramount||This Screening is part of event: South by Southwest 2007|
Day Five had the best intentions but ended up being a half day.
First up was this doc about competitive jump roping... and double dutching. It follows around two teams (one more affluent and white team from Chapel Hill and one more financially challeneged black team from Columbia, SC) as they both prepare for their first performance at the legendary Apollo theater. The rich white kids kick ass in jump rope competitions (single rope) but can't dance and don't really know much about double dutch (two ropes, more of a team effort). The black kids are great at double dutch but.... well, yeah they start off good.
So the doc follows as both of them prepare and eventually compete in this Apollo show. It's very much in the vein of Spellbound and the crowssword doc and that kind of thing... but it's also really really good. Micah made the point afterward that this is one of the few movies he's seen at the fest that he can picture playing in a "real" theater with a wide release. I concur. It's shot very well (lots of use of the fast shutter speed to accentuate the quick movement and flying ropes), amazing editing (that didn't sink in until I thought about the movie afterward, realizing how much information has to get conveyed and how many characters have to be represented in this really large and somewhat complicated story, yet the movie never seems to drag in exposition or get lost in its own explanation. Plus each character gets his or her own little moment in the film, which is a feat considering there's like 8 of them), great story, and the skill and athleticism on display is really amazing.
The greatest moment for me was after both of the advanced teas performed when the judge said "wait a minute, we're not done..." and these crazy Japanese teams came out and destroyed. Since none of them won I have to assume that the winning team was even more bedazzling and it just wasn't shown, but in watching the doc the Japanese felt like what it must have been like to be at the Savoy ballroom on the night that Frankie Manning came in and did the first aerial move in a house packed full of Lindy Hoppers. These kids were CRAZY. Infusing martial arts moves into their jumping and fetishistic obssession with weirdly-translated Western hip-hop culture, these guys were clearly on another level. Asian Fury on display. There were some great reaction shots of our kids staring slack-jawed...
So... I loved this one. it's really great.