Judge Franck Tabouring seriously considered a hip hop career, until his mom told him to stop dreaming.
You've never seen hip hop like this.
Informative and refreshing, Vee Bravo and Loira Limbal's documentary Estilo Hip Hop focuses on three artists who use hip hop as a political weapon. Unlike many rappers out there, these folks don't care about wearing tons of bling or bagging a lot of moolah. Instead, they use their passion for music to take a stand and inspire their communities to confront political and social problems and rise against frustrating issues such as racism and poverty. Estilo Hip Hop tells their story, and it does so in an intriguing way.
By switching back and forth between three main artists from three different countries, Bravo and Limbal perfectly keep the pace of their film at a high level throughout. Using in-depth interviews with the musicians, footage from rehearsals and performances, as well as a decent dose of stock footage documenting political and social turmoil, the filmmakers manage to draw both honest and inspiring portraits of a group of determined youngsters who combine their talent with their commitment to justice in order to change the world.
First, there's Eli Efi, a rapper from Brazil who fights issues like racism and explains to viewers the sad reality that exists between different social classes in his country. Then there's Guerrillero Okulto, a hip hop artist from Chile who through his music calls for action against poverty. Finally, the film also introduces us to Magia, a Cuban artist who fights for equality between men and women. Each of these musicians make remarkable efforts to promote their music in an effort to achieve social changes, but as this movie shows us, they all battle a bunch of personal issues threatening to prevent them from reaching their goals.
Directors Bravo and Limbal made the right choice and let their subjects tell the story and advance the movie, which clocks in at only 56 minutes. Eli, Guerrillero, and Magia all have insightful tales to share with the world. Their hard work and belief in hope help turn this documentary into an emotionally charged and truly inspiring viewing experience. Not only does it show in what ways hip hop can be used to go good in the world, but it also serves as a brief history lesson about the political turmoil people have been facing in Brazil, Chile, and Cuba. Needless to say, there's a lot to learn in this film, and that alone makes it a must-see.
Estilo Hip Hop is mostly shot hand-held and without particular attention to production values, but on TV, it looks great. The DVD carries a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation of the feature, and both picture and audio quality deliver the goods. A rough documentary is supposed to look rough, and this disc certainly gives the film the technical treatment it deserves. Also includes on the DVD is a solid bonus section, which takes a very detailed look at the origins of hip hop in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba. Some extra segments also introduce viewers to other hip hop artists using their music for a good cause.
Estilo Hip Hop is definitely worth your time. It introduces viewers to a world of hip hop that differs strongly from the one we are used to in the United States and Europe, and it chronicles the journeys of three artists who keep on fighting through art despite a general lack of support. Don't hesitate, if you can get your hands on this one.
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