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Planet B-Boy (DVD Review)

2 Nov, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Planet B-Boy

Street 11/11/08
Arts Alliance America
Box Office $0.3 million
$19.95 DVD
Not rated.

Those who might be holding hope for a return to the glory days of the breakdancing films that became popular in the 1980s might do better to shift their focus away from another Krush Groove or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and set their sights on this hugely entertaining documentary. 

While the cultural spotlight on this dance style might have lasted slightly longer than the films that capitalized on it, overall, breakdancing is largely considered a thing of the past, like the Reagan administration during which it flourished. 

Director Benson Lee’s rich, well-crafted film will both open the eyes of those who thought the acrobatic style of dancing was long gone, and it will excite the surprising number of enthusiasts who currently embrace it.

The film provides an exhaustive look at the origins of the B-Boy movement, the cultural influences that inspired it, the ascent into mainstream society, a thorough analysis of its perceived decline and its remarkable revival on a global scale. It is nothing less than an utterly compelling documentary — a fascinating look into a vibrant sub-culture that now thrives in the (relative) shadows after a time, 20-plus years ago, when it was hard to turn on a TV and not see breakdancing.  

After it establishes the history of the movement, Lee’s film turns its attention toward the annual international breakdancing championship held in Germany.

Lee spends ample time with five of the many teams in competition, including crews from the United States, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea. Extensive interviews with judges, dancers and, impressively, many of their families — all of them fascinating personalities — adds a level of depth, urgency and even poignancy to the entire experience.

The film is not just about breakdancing, it is about life.

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