Pin It

DVD Review 

by Collin Klamper & r & & r & RIZE & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & D & lt;/span & avid LaChappelle's new documentary, RIZE, has captured an improbable but true development in hip-hop: Clown dancing.

I told you it was improbable. But it's also true. Clown dancing, and its offshoot krumping, was created in response to the 1992 L.A. riots and has grown to become a force in the lives of the kids growing up in South Central L.A. The kids living in the aftermath needed to express some pretty real emotions, and they wanted more choices than sports or gangs. Clown dancing gave them a new way to express these feelings. For those of us living stable lives in a stable community, the idea of dressing as a clown and staging mock battles through dance might seem absurd. Wait, why the caveats? Dressing as a clown and staging mock battles is absurd. But to the kids in this film, clown dancing is their best shot at not getting shot.

That intense absurdity drew LaChappelle to this film, and it is LaChappelle's understanding of what makes the absurd beautiful that moves this film along so well. LaChappelle is best known as a photographer with a taste for the bizarre. He's the artist that Rush Limbaugh has nightmares about.

Let's say I asked you to imagine a portrait of your grandmother; to most people, that would conjure up a kindly woman sitting at Sears. To LaChappelle, the same portrait would capture her riding an alligator while five unicorns wrestle in the background. LaChappelle, in other words, is nuts. He's over the top regardless of the subject matter: a story about teenagers cheating death by dancing all night in clown makeup is simply vintage LaChappelle. His experience as a photographer is evident in almost every frame. Brightly lit community centers feel moody and tight, garish church rec rooms become outsider art installations. OK, so I'm biased toward the look of a movie over its content -- I am an art director after all -- but this is, hands down, the most beautiful film I've seen in years. LaChappelle's visual savvy makes this movie exceptional.

However cursory its attempt at a storyline, RIZE is an amazingly beautiful sneak peek at a world very far from here. Just be sure to watch it on a big TV.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Token Democracy
  • Token Democracy

    Would letting Washington voters give taxpayer money to politicians reduce the power of interest groups — or just subsidize politicians?
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Breaking down some of the issues you'll get to vote on this year
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Shea's World
  • Shea's World

    As Matt Shea seeks re-election, his presence may be felt more in other local races than in his own
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
National Geographic Live: Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions

National Geographic Live: Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions @ INB Performing Arts Center

Wed., Oct. 26, 7 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Most Commented On

  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • Defending North Idaho

    Why Heather Scott must go
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • Don't Test Me
  • Don't Test Me

    The Smarter Balanced standardized test has sparked a rebellion in Western Washington — and it's spreading
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • The Rachel We Knew
  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation