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Dirty Hands delivers an intense portrait of David Choe, a young near-schizophrenic street artist that devises numerous criminal schemes that afford him to hitchhike across the globe. David ... See full summary »
You get a kid, and you bust him in his school for graffiti; and you think you got him in trouble. When actuality what you just did was made him a hero in front of his peers. Now he's big time; now he's hardcore; you add validity to him.
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This feature-length documentary was shown at RESFEST, digital movie festival in Rotterdam, October 2005. This comment is a bit late but here it is anyway.
The film is about contemporary graffiti-culture and focuses on the lives of graffiti writers throughout the U.S like CLAW, SABER, ENEM, TOOMER, EARSNOT and JASE, from N.Y.C, Los Angeles and San Fransisco (which seems to have the most interesting scene nowadays).
On a human level the portrait of CLAW, a thirty-something Jewish girl from New York, is the best. She really got the spirit, bombing the whole city, quite touching how she lives for graffiti. Fun too are the mega-rooftops on some large office-buildings by SABER. Awesome, totally nuts and dangerous stuff! And then there's Joe, Joe "the graffiti guerrilla" Conolly, the graffiti buff, who sees it as his life task to remove graffiti in L.A. (I think it was in L.A.) and contributes to some laugh-out-loud moments.
It's interesting to see what's happening nowadays in the U.S., but it's all about "traditional" graffiti, which is making pieces, throw-ups and bombing with the good old spray-can. Nothing is shown about post-graffiti stuff like stencil-art or anything like that. Recently, the focus has shifted somewhat to other continents but there must be some new developments in street art in America too. Perhaps it's OK for people who don't know anything about graffiti culture but it has been around for 30 years now, so I think it's safe to assume people know about the phenomenon by now. This film sometimes plays more like a portrait of a waning culture with all of the artists coming of age (most are over thirty). Again, graffiti has moved on and we don't see anything about other recent developments. Do we really need to see throw-ups on freight trains anno 2005? What's that all about? In general, compelling material but for a general audience, watch STYLE WARS first.
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