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Saturday, 1 June, 2013 12:18 am

Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy

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As a documentary film director I enjoy creating films that do not rely on voice narration. Cinema Verite (Louis Malle) and Direct Cinema (D.A. Pennebaker) are two non-narration techniques that involve using only the most unobtrusive means to gather information. They can be the hardest to create, but the most enjoyable and rewarding for both the filmmaker and viewer. 

         Documentaries by Louis Malle

An example of these styles is my disturbing film Trashfest 2000. I had originally planned to do interviews and the standard fare of a typical doc but as the tragedy was unfolding before me in that Minneapolis night club, it became clear that adding interviews and narrative would take away from the pure gold presenting itself.   

In the same vein, Laurie House and Colin Powers' hard-to-swallow "Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy" gives the viewers a glimpse into an adolescent skateboarding world without narration. The pace of the film is what I would call "controlled barbaric" with a fair amount of unusual camera angles and well-timed editing. The soundtrack drives an extra uneasy feeling adding an element of chaos, with live performances by Duane Peters' Die' Hunns and an assortment of unusual vaudeville acts.



Aside from skateboarding heroes like Tony Hawk and Dave Reul, the subjects themselves are not really of interest except for the ring leader Brewce Martin. His rule over the sausage fest debauchery is like witnessing a drunk high school student babysitting a group of stoned 5 year olds. The viewer is left wondering how Brewce will survive and scheme his way through the next day since destruction is the only accomplishment achieved at a time when building his dream skate park is the supposed goal.

"Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy" portrays one of those rare instances where anarchy is in fact chaos.

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