Published Mar 11, 2016For a film called Hip Hop-eration, director Bryn Evans' latest documentary doesn't have a whole lot to do with the world's most popular genre. The subject in question here is hip-hop dance crews, the kind made famous by Mario Lopez-hosted competition shows and local community groups.
While the beats here sound watered-down, the redemptive quality of music in general is still present in Hip Hop-eration, a documentary that follows the world's oldest dance troupe, Hip Op-eration, and their journey to raise enough funds to travel from New Zealand to Las Vegas to perform at the World Hip-Hop Championships.
For a story about struggle, Hip Hop-eration, as a whole, doesn't have a lot of tension; from the get-go, their minimalist moves dazzle and delight audiences, and the only real issues they face involve obtaining proper passports and enough money to pay for the trip (which, considering a large chunk of the interview subjects seem to be semi-wealthy British ex-pats, doesn't appear to be that big of a problem). Because of this, Evans fills much of the film with one-on-one conversations with seniors discussing their pasts. The results are awe-inspiring, from a 94-year-old woman who walked across America to protest the Vietnam War, to a 70-something who reflects back on raising her four children after her husband left them high and dry.
Because of this, once the crew steps on stage in Las Vegas, their triumph doesn't pack as big of a punch. But, considering the lack of attention Western society as a whole pays to its senior citizens, Hip Hop-eration's biggest strength is restoring a bit of humanity to its subjects.
(Blue Ice Docs)