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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Classic NY Gang Documentary, Flyin' Cut Sleeves Finally Released on DVD 

I've mentioned this documentary on The Kitchen a couple times before. Why is that? I'm gonna put it to you like this: this is probably one of the top 5 most important movies related to hip hop & culture and history you could possibly watch. If you have any interest in getting some background on the gang culture of the late 60's/early 70's that hip hop was born out of, you need to watch this film immediately! And if you have any question as to the bona fides of the people who made this, FYI: Henry Chlafant, co-producer of of the classic graffitti documentary, Style Wars co-produced and co-directed this amazing portrait of Street Gang Presidents in the Bronx.

Here's the official promo plug:

"Portrait of the lives of street gang presidents in the Bronx over a 20-year period. A remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto.

Sleeping Dogs Films and MVD Visual are proud to announce the DVD release of
Flyin' Cut Sleeves on October 20th in North America. This 60-minute documentary was produced and directed by Henry Chalfant (of Style Wars fame) and Rita Fecher.

Flyin' Cut Sleeves, completed in 1993, portrays street gang presidents in the Bronx. The project grew out of the experiences of Rita Fecher, the film's co-producer, who taught in a South Bronx school in the late 1960's and early 1970's, became intimately involved with the gangs, their leaders, and the leaders' families and began to document their lives. Their world was the streets, set against a backdrop of uprooted families, cultural alienation, drugs and violence.

Neighborhood teenagers responded by organizing into street groups known to the members as "families", but labeled in the most alarming terms as violent gangs by the press. In fact, the "families" had a stabilizing effect, enabling the youths to cope with their troubled environment. The political climate at the time, movements of national liberation and such organizations as the Black Panthers and Young Lords Party influenced the young gang leaders to aspire to be more than warriors and to become, to some degree, a positive force in their communities.

When Rita Fecher returned after twenty years to see what had become of her old friends, she found that they had stayed in the community of their youth, that they were deeply committed to improving conditions there and that they were engaged in helping their own children survive in the hazardous street environment. The documentation of these lives over a twenty-year period offers a remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto (spanning four generations), and the means that people devise to cope from the time that they are children to when they serve as parents and role models for a new generation.

Don't f-ck around, just rent or better yet, BUY the Flyin' Cut Sleeves DVD. It is ESSENTIAL viewing for anyone who claims to care or know about hip hop culture and history. You must learn!

(Thanks to See of Sound for the promo DVD...)


See of Sound | Henry Chalfant

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