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USA 2006
Directed by
Michel Gondry
103 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Dave Chappelle is a comedian who had a hit comedy show on cable TV, signed a $50 million contract for Season 3 and, disregarding his obligations, disappeared. The principal virtue of this documentary, effectively rendered by video director Michel Gondry covering a street party he put together in September 2004, at least for non-fans of the funk/rap music (which constitutes 50% of film) is its celebration of individual expression, particularly in black culture.

Chappelle is an entertaining dude, relaxed in his own environment and the film is engaging in its behind-the-scenes aspect (which constitutes the other 50%). Chappelle has a knack for putting whoever comes his way at ease with his joshin' patter and the result is a kind of Sesame Street for Adults introduction to the 'hood of Bedford-Stuyvesant of Brooklyn, well known to film-goers via Spike Lee's films, as well as Chappelle's hometown of Dayton, Ohio. The music by performers such as Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, Cody Chesnutt and Dead Prez will mainly appeal to those familiar it although the show is capped off by a performance by The Fugees who do their big hit remix of "Killing Me Softly".

DVD Extras: The DVD offers the theatrical release and an alternative version with extended musical segments; a making of featurette and an extended account of Chapelle's visit to Dayton,

Available from: Village Roadshow




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