Stoked surfing documentary: bodies, unrest, and motion...
Although it didn't receive anything in the way of attention as did "The Endless Summer" from 1966, this globe-trotting surfing documentary has its own modest rewards, not the least of which is the swirling, curling cinematography by the three credited cameramen (Jim Freeman, Greg MacGillivray, and Michael D. Margulies). Two young male surfers and a female counterpart, suntanned and bright-eyed in the best American tradition, take a self-confessed low-budget surfing tour of the world, with stops in Portugal, Morocco, Ceylon, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii. The initial comedic set-up is corny (most likely intentionally so, but silly nevertheless), and the color tinting on some of the early footage is irritating, however this 80-minute pleasure is full of wondrous shots of surfers and the sea. The trio (sort of a "Jules and Jim" without the sex) encounter puny waves in Hong Kong, indoor surfing in Japan, and thunderous waves (and bikini babes) in Hawaii. Everywhere these kids go they seem to attract excitement and happiness, and the cameras capture all the contagious joy (the whole movie is a vicarious thrill). We are visually engaged in the sport of surfing without understanding the training and discipline involved--and yet, when the local kids attempt to emulate the grown-ups on their surfboards and plop right back into the ocean, everyone has a good laugh and tries again. The fact that "Follow Me" doesn't take itself at all seriously is part of its scruffy charm. **1/2 from ****
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