Transmission: a general plan for the 2020 edition

by Porto/Post/Doc / 25 10 2020

The history of the relationship between hip hop and the new generations is not new. Gender connected with the movement of the streets, the need to measure the concerns, routines and thoughts of youth is not rare. With the advent of digital and the globalisation that it brought to the production and dissemination of culture, the music that is born on the street began to grow in cyberspace. Around the world, new artists have emerged, building around them a tight circle of fans, to whom the social networks would give a channel for building a community. In American Rapstar we set our eyes firmly on the Soundcloud Rap movement, a lo-fi scene inhabited by troubled artists, misfits from a post-trumpian society where the consumption of pharmacy drugs (medicines) presents itself as a way of being. Disruptive, provocative and millionaires, names like Lil Peep, Bhad Bhabie, Lil Xan or Smokepurpp became true icons of a generation of ambiguous ideas, but with very clear opinions about the state of culture, youth and the future of music. This is what we hear in this documentary by Justin Staple through the testimonies of his most prominent figures and their contextualisation in the global picture.

Dark City: Beneath the Beat is a love letter to the city. To its people. To its music. Critics say that the film, which crosses documentary language with music video, is assembled as if it was a djmix. It's no wonder, since it is born from the hands of one of its most colorful and multifaceted cultural activists: TT The Artist. Co-produced by Issa Rae (who we know from the success of Insecure streaming), the film proposes an audiovisual experience that perfects the way Baltimore's music scene is built from its local community. It does so with first-person testimonies of iconic figures from the Bmore clubbing scene and a set of choreographed scenes that throw us into a city in motion, to the beat's own rhythm. Dark City: Beneath the Beat is not only the most danceable film of this competition, it is also a testimony of hope and pacification of a community where racial tensions are an abject routine made normal. Instead of reaffirming the sad words of a youth recovery center worker who says "In Baltimore, everything is treated with hostility," TT channels this energy into a protest sequence where black dancers in orange prison jumpsuits move, as one, along the Inner Harbor, claiming space through solidarity.  Instead of highlighting Freddie Gray's murder by taking us through the details as if we shouldn't know them, TT ends its film with a heart-stopping note as it captures a dancer dancing between the tombstones of a Baltimore cemetery," it says in the Indiewire. 

It is one of the mandatory musical films of 2020. White Riot, directed by Rubika Shah, mixes current interviews with archive footage to recreate the atmosphere of anti-immigration hysteria that marked England in the 1970s. At its center is the Rock Against Racism Movement, born as a response to the National Front marches and to a certain movement of musicians who clamored for the idea of a "white UK".  On one side the neo-Nazi recruit movements and on the other a fuse movement that brought together musicians from various areas (from punk to reggae) in the organisation of events and concerts of cultural gatherings. Between the fanzines and Carnival Against Nazis, we followed in White Riot the key moments of a resistance movement that proves the place of music in social struggles. 

It was the 90s when The KLF set fire to the artistic discussion by burning, in a performative act, a million pounds from their profits as one of the most promising bands in the pop scene of the time. The action, which would trigger an intense public discussion around the concepts and limits of art, has remained to this day as one of the milestones of a career built on an enviable ability to turn music into a happening. More than 20 years later, already away from the stages and after having withdrawn all their music from sale, Bill Drummond and Jimmu Cauty returned. No longer as pop legends, but as gravediggers of an immense monument: The Pyramid of the People, which aims to rise from 34,952 bricks of human ashes. Documental drawing about the bizarre creative mind of the duo, Welcome to the Dark Ages accompanies The KLF in the development of this idea, alongside the usual collaborators and revealing, in subtext, the path of one of the eternal references of the acid house movement. The film will be shown on November 23rd, the one they dubbed The Toxteth Day of the Dead. 

A Vida Dura Muito Pouco, thus begins the documentary proposal around one of this year's Portuguese music phenomena. José Pinhal, an artist who has died and until recently was completely unknown to the Portuguese public, is the central figure in this story, drawn among the clubs of a Oporto's of other times and the testimonies of admirers and close contacts. In an attempt to celebrate the work of Pinhal, Dinis Leal Machado builds here a film-research that brings new lights on the life and music of the singer from Matosinhos, since the discovery of his tapes to the construction of the myth. 

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