Style Wars (1984)

14 Jul

Movies and documentaries are sometimes excellent time capsules where you are transported to the time it is set. You travel back and see what the streets looked like at the time and what was in fashion. Style Wars is one of these time capsules that shows two subjects: The start of B-Boys and the battle of the city of New York against graffiti and the reaction of the artists.

During the seventies and the eighties the subway trains in New York were covered with graffiti. There were pieces which were as big as a whole train, but it wasn’t only the outside which was covered in graffiti. Directors Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver pointed their cameras on the officials of the city, like the mayor and police, but also interviewed the graffiti artists themselves. The things which will immediately stand out is how young these kids are and with how much passion they speak about their hobby. They tell about the excitement they feel when they enter places which are forbidden and the rush they get when they see one of “their trains” pass. Just like in Infamy the parents talk about their feelings about graffiti as well. Of course they don’t always understand why their kids do it, but realise there isn’t much they can do to prevent them from doing it.

The other side of this documentary are the B-Boys. A very young Crazy Legs shows his skills and talks about his techniques. It also shows his crew battling another group. The thing which you’ll notice is how both graffiti and breakdancing bring young people from all areas and social groups together. Everyone is the same and the only people compare are their skills.

Style Wars is nostalgia and a lot of fun to watch. It’s one of the first documentaries about both subjects which is reason enough to see this if you are interested to learn more about them.

Score: 7

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