Sunday, August 07, 2005

Some days are made for chores, this Sunday was made for straightening up the pad, washing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and grocery shopping were the happenings. But during the day's productivity I gave myself a break and saw two documentaries a double feature, a yin and yang of cinematic energy, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and Rize.

The movies were showing at my neighborhood theatre The Four Star, this is my favorite movie, spot, walking distance from my apartment it's a small family run theatre with two screens. The second theatre has back rows with only two seats, great to get comfortable in...a home theatre away from home.

Rize is an interesting documentary capturing the creative spirit of adults and children in Los Angeles developing new styles of Hip Hop dancing, Clowning and Krumping.

The film focus was Tommy the Clown, the man who started by performing at children parties and develop an urban style of clowning and dance. He also opened a dance academy and now has a troupe of young dancers/performers. The film gives a sense about the these dancers struggles in their communities where there are few options for young people. Dancing provides a means for achievement, therapy and balance for lives assaulted with so many negative distractions and dangers.

David LaChappelle was given a wealth of material and I would have enjoyed learning more about individuals dancers. Also, because of his background he has a tendency to stylized images and there's a thin line between dance documentary and extended music video. Sometimes I felt like we were slipping into music video land.

Chappelle has received many compliments for juxtaposing African dancers with the Hip Hop dancers but I felt this was a cheat. We don't learn anything about the African dancers, were they participating in religious ceremonies, funerals, wedding? Who, what and where in Africa? We have no idea, we all know dance styles, body movements of African-American still retains many Africanism. I don't believe this is some type of mystical genetic link but one element of African Culture that wasn't stolen away by slavery. Like the non- traditional language structure used by many Black American, to Bill Cosby displeasure, it has African roots. The images visually were nice but told us very little.

The movies strength is it portrays how in environments with limited resources people continue to strive and make their way in our callous world.

A totally different vibe, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill was shot in San Francisco in the beautiful Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The film is about the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and the man who took care of them Mark Bittner.

Parrots is a quiet film, simply and beautifully shot we get to know the parrots as individuals as they live within their birdland urban community. Mark Bittner is our tour guide into their lives, he documents the parrots for three years. We learn about how the parrots probably arrived in San Francisco and survive.

Mark Bittner life is another element in the film, a man searching for his place on the planet. He ends up living rent free in one of the most exclusive areas of San Francisco documenting wild parrots. Once homeless and usually unemployed his desire to not compromise his life has taken him on an interesting journey.

I call the films ying and yang of energy maybe this is true. Spiritually I felt the films were very close both dealt with individuals working to find their place in this world. Going against the roles society has placed on them to achieve for themselves.


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