Review: Rize

MovieSteve rating:



Fashion photographer and music-video director David LaChapelle’s documentary about Krumping, the brutally physical, adrenalised street dance movement in South Central LA which rose, in the aftermath of the 1992’s Rodney King riots, from the Clowning movement. Yes, clowning as in painting the face and putting on big baggy clothes. Think rap face-to-face showdowns, but instead of spinning rhymes they do the most ridiculously amazing dances with their body, the court of audience opinion more often than not deciding the winner. Both clowning and now krumping are a leftfield response to deprivation and the added blight of the gang culture and originally allowed those who do it to pass unmolested from one gang district to another. Who’s going to challenge you for wearing the wrong colours when you’re wearing all the colours? Fighting fire not with fire but with a flower. Chappelle is good on the history of this recent phenomenon, talks to the right people and knows how to place a camera so as to catch some of the most amazing dancers seen on film since Fred Astaire and the Nicholas brothers hung up the top hat. Yes, he has the convert’s zeal and overdoes the “it’s tough in da hood” stories, but you can’t argue with those wildly exciting moves.
© Steve Morrissey 2006

Rize – at Amazon





Leave a Comment

Rize (2005) Documentary, Music | 86min | 24 June 2005 (USA) 7.1
Director: David LaChapelleStars: Tommy the Clown, Larry Berry, DragonSummary: Reveals a groundbreaking dance phenomenon that's exploding on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film bring to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. We meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it Clowning, as well as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupe and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life--and, because it's authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling hip-hop culture), the ... Written by Sujit R. Varma


See all photos >>