Monday, November 07, 2005

Rize for Four Minutes

"Rize" is a documentary about Krump and Clown dancing. Before I saw the preview for this movie months ago, I had no idea. Dancing to me is the "white man's shuffle" which involves swaying and thumbs pointing straight up in the air, so krump dancing is well beyond my wildest imagination. So what is krump? Krump is a form of dancing that seems to have come from the streets of Los Angeles. The beginning of "Rize" ties the entire movie into the Watts riots from the 60's and the 1992 Rodney King riots, so we are to get the impression that this form of dance comes from the anger of those who have nothing else. In a way, that is exactly what the dancers tell us. The film introduces us to Tommy the Clown, a hip hop dancing clown who does neighborhood parties and is very popular. To him, this dancing and the "clowning" is a chance to do something positive, and the other clown dancers are also doing something positive. The dancing is wild and almost out of control, but it comes from the soul.

Krump comes from clowning, but krump seems to add this extra layer of aggression to the dance. It is hard to truly describe krump, or clowning, but the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie which says that nothing in the movie has been sped up should tell something of the intensity and speed of the dance. It really is amazing.

Rize continues to tie this dance into the community, African traditional dance, the church, and the opportunity to do something positive and be a positive influence rather than gang banging. Clocking in at under an hour and a half, "Rize" is well worth the time to watch. And for those who can only dance the white man's shuffle, it is an impressive look at dance.

"Four Minutes" is a movie which premiered on ESPN 2. Usually this would automatically lower expectations regarding quality but it was fairly well done. Since I enjoy running and enjoy watching the elite runners do their thing, seeing a movie made about Roger Bannister was a treat for me. Bannister was the first man to run faster than four minutes for the mile. As a character says in the movie, four minutes was as much a psychological barrier as it was a physical barrier.

Personally, I found this to be a fascinating movie. It is a fictionalized account and not a documentary, but the performances were good enough and I got to see some running. I have no idea how this movie would play for someone not interested in this story and what is going on. I imagine it would feel a little slow and maybe boring. It helps if you want to see a running movie and the enormity of what Bannister was doing in the running world is great drama even if you know that he is going to break it and open the floodgates to people running sub 4.

It's not a great movie, but I liked it.

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