Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
Documentary covering a Stax Records-sponsored all-day concert at the 1972 Watts Summer Festival with performances by Stax Records artists such as Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, The Staples Singers, and more.
The Staple Singers,
Dave Chappelle presents a Brooklyn neighborhood with its very own once-in-a-lifetime free block party. In addition to Chappelle, the roster of artists includes Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, the Roots, Cody ChesnuTT, Big Daddy Kane, and - reunited for their first performance in over seven years - the Fugees. Includes private rehearsals footage and Chappelle in the small Ohio town he calls home, where he wanders through town handing out golden tickets to invite several dozen citizens to join the party, providing transportation and lodging for their visit to Brooklyn. Ohio's Central State University marching band makes the trip and kicks off the festivities at the intersection of Quincy and Downing Streets. A diverse crowd and Chappelle's freestyle wit guides them (and us) through a celebration of music and comedy, history and community. Written by
Concertgoers had to register on-line, then were told to meet at a secret location in the Chinatown section of Manhattan. From there, they were bussed to the concert location, which was also kept secret. The majority of the acts that would be appearing were also kept secret from the concertgoers. Admission to the concert was free. See more »
Dave Chappelle's main reason for holding the block party in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn was because, he says, that hip-hop originated there. However, hip-hop really originated in the South Bronx and spread to the other sections of New York soon afterward. See more »
[playing bongos in front of a crowd]
5,000 black people chillin' in the rain. 19 white people peppered in the crowd. Trying to find a Mexican.
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Some have said that Michel Gondry directed this documentary (this is not a movie) like their grandfather would have done with a mini-DV camera. Well, man, I'd like to meet your grandfather.
For those of you who don't know "When We Were Kings", it's time to watch it. Because both this documentaries are about the same thing. Of course I wouldn't say Block Party is as good, nor as powerful as when we were kings. But the purpose is the same: try to unite black people on one event, try to make them realise that even when you're black and coming from a poor neighbourhood, you can do something of your life without only blaming the white man for your condition.
Of course, at the time When We Were Kings was shot, Mobutu was Zaire's Dictator, and the movie was financed by Liberian producers, who mostly owned their money from selling diamonds coming from Sierra Leone, exchanged against AK-47's and other weapons. Therefore the omnipotent contradiction hidden behind the Black condition, and even mankind in general, but it has hurt black people much more: people trying to do good, and others getting money out of it with no rules or respect for anything or anyone.
So, for once, here in Block Party, it's something done for fun, not for money, but also for ideas, with representatives of this movement we don't see enough: Not only people AGAINST something or someone, but FOR a change, using the power that is present in this population. And Michel Gondry, who is a GREAT director, filmed this in the same way When We Were Kings was shot. Camera in hand, close-ups, rough cuts, interviews over the music, same kind of music, same kind of people. Showing the poverty, and showing there's hope. It's not a masterpiece to me, but a good documentary. And of course, if you don't like hip-hop it's hard to like it. I'm a huge fan of ALL the artist on this movie, I would have made exactly the same programmation if I had been in control!
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