A lyrical picture telling the story of a closed community of rappers who self-isolate in the Colorado desert.
Crestone—a small town of 150 citizens, lost in the Colorado dunes and hills, a shelter for adepts of spiritual practices and religious sects—is the place where the protagonists of the film settle down as a creative commune of self-proclaimed alternative rappers. For years, they live in voluntary self-isolation: growing marijuana, beating tattoos, collecting useful garbage in the neighborhoods, reflecting on sunsets, and sometimes sending signals to the outer world by uploading their hip-hop tracks on SoundCloud and pics on the Instagram. Hardly anyone can get access to this alternative “family” without personally knowing its members—but as a friend of some of these characters from school, director Marnie Ellen Hertzler uses her old acquaintances to reduce the distance and shoot, in one week, a collective portrait of the lost (geographically—for sure) generation.
At some point, this anthem of autonomous living brings to mind Larry Clark’s or Harmony Korine’s movies—filmmakers who can reach young people without forcing them to cease being themselves in front of the camera. But here everything is more complicated: the presence on social networks and the necessity to stick to the canons of hip hop lyrics require these musicians to continually share their lives with the world, so the film is balancing on the shaky border between the real and the virtual. Documentary footage is interspersed with clip-like inserts and the prosaic mundanity—with staged portraiture of artificially posing characters. The author asks herself what, among the things happening around, is real life—and what is made of images. And it seems that her heroes, who escaped from society but are not ready to break with it completely, do not know the answer themselves.
The film will be screened in English with Russian subtitles.
Dir. Marnie Ellen Hertzler
USA, 2020. 73 min. 16+