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Australia 2006
Directed by
George Gittoes
103 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


George Gittoes' documentary about a family of Afro-Americans living in the ghetto-lands of Miami grew out of his 2005 documentary Soundtrack to War (which I have not seen) about the Iraq war and the role of popular music in the footsoldier's experience. Gittoes there met the charismatic Elliot Lovett and subsequently travelled to Elliot's home in Brown Sub to meet the 23-year-old's brothers, Alton, Marcus and Denzell, and their extended family and to record their way of life in which rap music plays an integral part

Drawing a parallel between the family's experience in the virtual war zone of their neighbourhood and that of Baghdad. Gittoes gives us a very straightforward  if sympathetic portrait of his subjects who spend most days hanging around and improvising raps. In its strictly observational the film lacks the dramatic narrative appeal of a comparable documentary, 1994's Hoop Dreams and whether it will appeal will depend very much on your appetite for rap music and its sub-cultural context.

Available from: Madman




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