Beat This! A Hip Hop-History

Director Dick Fontaine
United Kingdom / 59 min. / 1984 / English


Fontaine catches hip-hop in its inception, with a narrative work that’s as original and electric as an alien film. The apocalyptic Bronx, Kool Herc, “Planet Rock”, B-Boys, rapping chicks…  All the films that came after took a slice from this one.

 

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Some of the opening images of Beat This! may ring a bell with you. Don't panic, you're not having an out of body experience. Nor has a B-Boy spirit invaded your corpus. There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this: all the films on the same subject that came along after this one, stole footage from it. This hip-hop comic book odyssey with its pop texture and bold original narrative, reveals the diverse elements of the culture (graffiti, break-dance, rapping, DJing) at the rhythm of a fiction film. The voice of a radio DJ interlaces images of guys dancing with video footage from "Planet Rock", with the chicks rapping, with Kool Herc doing his thing (those famous images of the car with the colossal sub-woofers cruising around an apocalyptical Bronx), painted trains, the Zulu Nation meeting, the discjockeys setting up the party in the park, the dance competitions at the club (the Dynamic Rockers in full force)... Fontaine manages to catch hip-hop at its inception (in 1984, beat that) with a film that's as original and electric as an alien flick. A classic. 

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Details
Showing format

Leadings
Afrika Bambaataa, Kool DJ Herc, The Zulu Nation...

Screenwriter(s)
Dick Fontaine

Editor(s)
Richard Bedford

Camera
Mike Southon

Sound designer
Stuart Moser, Jim Greenhorn

Producer
Pat Hartley, Dick Fontaine

Film company
BBC, Polygram Pictures

Film distributor

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