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T, as most of his friends, lives in a self-constructed 'house', built on top of an old building in the city. Their one passion is 'combat'. Combat is a dance/streetfight during which the contestants try to push each other out of the arena, while not allowed to actually touch each other. When drugdealers move into the neighbourhood and kill T's best friend he embarks on a mission to eradicate the drug-presence in the neigbourhood. His friends are reluctant to help though, knowing what happened to T's friend when he crossed them. Written by
Joop Carels <email@example.com>
I saw this in the theater when it opened in the spring of '89 because it received a fair deal of publicity at the time. The dance show CLUB MTV even did an hour special featuring the cast and dancers/capoierists with accompanying film clips and videos. I was intrigued, especially when I heard the great Robert Wise was at the helm. It was touted as an aware, updated version of West Side Story against the back-drop of the crack-ravaged streets of Lower Manhattan. In spite of an engageing cast, slick production (co-produced by Taylor Hackford and Howard Koch, photographed by Theo van de Sande, designed by Jeannine Oppewall, and scored by Michael Kamen and Dave Stewart) it turned out to be a poorly-scripted update of the rock and roll B-fliks of the 1950s featuring Alan Freed. Needless to say, it died a quick death at the box office. Well, time heals old (cinematic) wounds. Just like the old Freed films Rooftops can be seen as a something of a curio rooted in its time. Its got everythin a nostalgia freak wants: period music, fashions and slang. It is also a glimpse into the world of pre-gentrification Manhattan, a place/time as exhilirating as it was dangerous. Check out the exciting title sequence/foot chase set to Etta James'"Avenue D." Worth a viewing.
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