Has everyone seen this movie but me? I had to watch it for my summer class, "Dynamic of the City." Here's why you should watch it too:
- Lush, defiant, sprawling urban murals. Or, if you prefer, graffiti. I've never seen anything like it. Regardless of your personal preference, you have to admit it's refreshingly beautiful.
- Old-school hip-hop. Before it was all about drugs, misogyny and cop-killing, it was about style. Several students agreed that if rap still sounded like this, we'd be listening. Many of the tracks are spliced with footage of break-dancers, another lost art form that has disintegrated into sex and violence. (And the deadpan voice-over about "rocking your body" is priceless.)
- A sense of loss. I felt slighted that this movement had come and gone before I was even born (or at least old enough to appreciate it.) I'm not sure how it ended except by a crackdown of security on the train yards. The saddest part was watching the taggers turn into entrepreneurs, searching for a way to prolong their creativity -- they suggested a supervised program of train murals with the public voting on which designs it preferred. It was a great idea, but the MTA scoffed at it and the two retreated to their opposite corners to gear up for the next fight.
Every once in awhile we have a chance to reconcile opponents, to de-polarize opinions, to hold up what we have in common instead of what we disagree about. Shame on us for looking the other way.