Bomb It (2007) – D: Jon Reiss

Bomb It (2007) D: Jon Reiss

Bomb It

Directed by Jon Reiss of Better Living Through Circuitry fame, Bomb It is another in a long tradition of documentaries about graffiti and its related subculture. With that in mind, there is one graffiti documentary against which all others are judged; Henry Chalfant’s Style Wars.

What Bomb It offers that so many have not over the years, is a look at graffiti from an international perspective. Right away the film breaks away from the pack by offering the little heard  claim that graffiti started in Philadelphia and not New York.

The New York segment of the film is put away early on using famous photos from Chalfant’s graffiti bible Subway Art, interviews with icons such as Lady Pink and tracking shots of decaying Harlem streets.

With the cradle of Hip Hop culture set aside, Reiss goes on to look at graffiti movements in places as diverse as the UK, Spain, Norway and Africa. Interestingly, in Africa, Reiss stops at the infamous District Six where the remnants of abandoned building projects have had the treatment from local graffiti artists.

What this fresh international view illustrates is that the world around, street art / graffiti has sprung from an initial spark in the Bronx to anywhere there is poverty and disenfranchisement. In fact, the decaying and dangerous slums of Sau Palo, Brazil have a distinct 1970s Harlem feel about them, and the Brazilian crew makes note of this.

In total, Bomb It is an irreplaceable addition to the graffiti documentary canon. While there has been many films on the subject, none have had the kind of global scope that Bomb It has. Scattered sparingly with ingenious animation and edited by the renowned Jeffrey Levy-Hinte who worked on Soul Power and When We Were Kings, Bomb It is insightful, rebellious and engaged with its subject.

You can read an interesting interview with Jon Reiss over at Six Thousand where he informs readers that Bomb It 2 will be released as a web series and will feature Australia, Israel, Palestine and more international flavour. You can catch Bomb It at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival on Saturday July 10th at 5:00pm and Friday July 16th at 6:30pm. Jon Reiss will be in attendance for the Friday 16th session for Q&A after the film.

Deserves a place among important artefacts of the Hip Hop nation – 4.5 Stars

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~ by mfnm on July 2, 2010.

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