Style Wars (1983)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Graphic & Applied Arts, Jazz & Modern Dance, Sociology  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Calisthenic breakdancing and big, bold graffiti art were in top form and popularity in the U.S. in the early and mid-'80s, and this documentary extols the spirit and the talents of a variety of New York youngsters who were expert in either one or both of these challenging pastimes. Public reactions are wildly varied. On the one hand, the youth brave a police crackdown on graffiti and face barbed-wire fences and guard dogs in the railroad yards where they spray paint subway cars with oversized lettering. On the other hand, their art is shown in a municipal gallery and analyzed with the same seriousness as a Rembrandt or a Renoir. Whether viewers judge the graffiti an "eyesore" or a bit of post-modern expressionism, it is true that both the art and the dancing are incisively presented in this hour-long exploration.

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Keywords

breakdancing, graffiti, hip-hop-dance, hip-hop-music, inner-city, self-expression, street-performers, subway