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Bomb It - documentary DVD review
BOMB IT Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Chaz Bojorquez
Director: Jonathan Reiss   Distributor: Docurama
DVD release: 27 May 2008   Runtime: 93 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Languages (English - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; French, German, Japanese, Spanish), Behind the scenes, Extended interviews, Extended timelapse sequences, Theatrical trailer, Filmmaker bios, Docurama trailers

Jon Reiss's Bomb It is an amazing film about an amazing and controversial art form known to most as graffiti. The artists mostly refer to their art as bombing, hence this film's title. We're told that the modern graffiti movement started in Philadelphia during the late '60s by a man who goes by the name of Cornbread, so nicknamed in juvenile institutions for his vocal demands to be served cornbread instead of the white bread usually served. His name spread through the institution so widely, bestowing on him a popularity he enjoyed. He decided to spread it to the streets, spray-painting walls around town.

From Cornbread in Philly, graffiti art rapidly spread to New York City and all its boroughs. The signatures became more elaborate and more stylized. Today the signatures remain, but as time goes on we see social commentary and rebellious language.

Graffiti can be a simple signature with a pen or spray can, and it can be as wild and complex as a building-high mural. Many artists say that the walls they paint belong to the community and they have a right to beautify in their own way; most artists stay away from homes and personal property. Gangs use signatures to mark territory, and anti-graffiti groups quickly cover any that show up in their neighborhood.

It's a complex art form surrounded by complex issues and emotions, and Bomb It left me wanting more. What the film does offer is a worldview of graffiti, how it's used, and how the style varies from country to country. We get to know artists in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Barcelona, Capetown, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Philly, New York, and L.A.

Bomb It is a fascinating film on a fascinating topic. It goes deeper than mere vandalism, and I've got a new respect and curiosity for the subject and the amazing artists who use their cities as their canvas.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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