Last night Cindy and I were lucky enough to catch the documentary "Planet B-Boy," playing as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The setting was pure New York: a large outdoor screen set up at the World Financial Center gathering various strata of NY society — from Staten Island guidos to Williamsburg artsies to rowdy nuyoricans jostling for seats and squatting on the concrete.
The pre-show festivities included a beatbox orchestra, breakin demos and battles, and spoken word artists keeping the crowd energized. Finally at around 8:30pm the lights dimmed and the opening credits rolled.
"Planet B-Boy" tells the compelling story of the "Battle of the Year," an annual gathering of b-boy crews from around the world competing to see who is the baddest crew in the land. The film delves into the lives and motivations of breakers from France, the US, Japan, Korea and Germany, interspersing interviews with awesome dance footage.
The cinematography and visuals in the film were superb. Fun, grafitti-inspired graphics transition between the various biopics. The final battle in Germany is shot low and steady, with little of the quick-cutting video technique that ruins most dance footage. Hopefully the DVD contains more extensive footage of each of the team’s routines and battles.
"Planet B-boy" is a testament to the legacy and ongoing dance tradition of breakin, and a celebration of the limits of human physical achievement. Don’t miss it, if it comes to your town!