Jason Killingsworth, November 11, 2008
Paste Rating, 90 commendable
DVD Release Date: Nov. 11
Director: Benson Lee
Studio/Run Time: Elephant Eye Films, 98 mins.
Inspiring breakdance doc waves hip-hop flag
For the average person, breakdancing is merely a jocular piece of ’80s nostalgia. It calls to mind that sauced attention whore at every wedding reception who inevitably flops to the ground in the middle of a dance circle during “Billie Jean” and tries to spin on his back. But even though the b-boy phenomenon exhausted its 15 minutes in the pop-culture spotlight nearly two decades ago, it has thrived ever since in madly devoted pockets all over the globe. Benson Lee’s riveting, adrenaline-fueled documentary, Planet B-Boy, shows the unifying power of hip-hop culture by focusing on b-boy crews around the world who’ve qualified to compete in the esteemed 2005 Battle of the Year in Hanover, Germany. While it’s impossible to stress enough just how electrifying the dancing in the film is (you’ll be jumping off the couch and shouting “WHAAAT?!” every few minutes), the emotional impact of the dancers’ stories gives the film its real heft. Regardless of the language barriers between these crews, hip-hop provides a common flag to rally beneath and a place to seek a mutual (and thoroughly sweat-soaked) understanding.
Watch the trailer for Planet B-Boy: