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433. Roller Dreams; movie review

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Title : 433. Roller Dreams; movie review
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Cert TBA
82 mins
BBFC advice: TBA

Mrs W and I heard much about the vibrancy of Venice Beach so when we were in Los Angeles a few years ago, we visited and were bitterly disappointed.
Ok, there was a Bohemian feel to it but it was more of a downbeat vibe than the upbeat, anything-goes one we had expected.
Now we know why - the skateboarders had been moved on.
Kate Hickey's Roller Dreams focuses on the crew who gave Venice its reputation before the authorities became fearful of so many black people gathering to have a good time.
Interviews with all of them are married to clips from the time which showed their incredible abilities to dance on skates, either alone or together.
In the most part, these were black people who sought solace from the poverty and violence of their neighbourhoods in southern Los Angeles.
And, boy, they had talent. The tricks they could perform drew crowds from miles around.
However, their moment in the sun turned out to be fleeting because the authorities brought a bulldozing end to their fun.
Roller Dreams is another film which shines a light on the discrimination which is still rife in the United States.
It shows how the poor are downtrodden, especially if they are black, even when they try to initiate positive change.
The sadness is that key members of the crew have fallen on hard times since rollerskating stopped on Venice Beach - one brilliant dancer even lives in a garage without a toilet or running water.
Therefore, what starts out as a celebration of the talents of the rollerskaters becomes an essay on the politics of poverty.
It also adds notes about gentrification - areas of Venice Beach have been bulldozed and fancy new homes and tourist eateries have been built.
The character has gone and no longer do people simply rock up with speakers and a sound system and entertain crowds for the hell of it.
That is a shame because, for the life of me, I cannot see the harm in that.

Reasons to watch: The amazing scenes of roller-skating skill 
Reasons to avoid: Needs a comment from the authorities which closed down the skaters

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Director quote - Kate Hickey: "I knew this was a story worth documenting. The people who had unjustly fallen into the cracks of Venice history."

The big question - Why couldn't the authorities just let the skaters be?

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