Dogtown And Z-Boys

Dogtown And Z-Boys


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

In the early 1970s a dozen young surfers gathered around the Zephyr surfboard shop in Dogtown, Los Angeles, and took to skating when the surf wasn't up.

Soon the Z-Boys were using dried up swimming pools to skate. Then they took the world skateboard championships by storm, showing the older establishment something it had never seen before.

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But after this triumph the team members went their separate ways. Some remained true to Zephyr, while others signed for rival companies - one even started his own company.

Though the Dogtown days are now a memory, the Z-Boys legacy remains the foundation of modern skateboarding.

Filmmakers Stacy Peralta and Craig Steyck were intimately involved with the scene - Peralta as one of the Z-Boys, Steyck as the man whose photos and articles publicised them throughout the world. This gives them a huge archive of material to use and the clout to get to talk with those who matter - ten of the other Z-boys (one is actually a girl), the Zephyr proprietors and various other counter-culture figures involved with, or influenced by the movement, such as Glen E Friedman, Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins.

Though Dogtown And The Z-Boys will be of most interest to skaters, the film thankfully manages to transcend the skate video ghetto. Its sheer dynamism is infectious, some relatively bland talking heads sequences and history lesson type narrations (voiced by Sean Penn) being offset by exhilirating footage of the Z-Boys doing their thing, as well as excellent action montages and a carefully chosen soundtrack of Seventies hard rock.

Even if the film is occasionally too intimate with its subject, failing to criticise the macho tribalism of the Z-Boys, or to explore the economics of the sport and whether the younger members were exploited, any such misgivings are easily overcome by the sheer enthusiasm and energy on display.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2001
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Dogtown And Z-Boys packshot
Absorbing documentary about the birth of modern skateboarding, told by those who were there.
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Read more Dogtown And Z-Boys reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****
Gator MacReady ***

Director: Stacy Peralta

Writer: Craig Steyck

Starring: Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Bob Biniak, Jay Adams, Shogo Kubo, Jim Muir, Peggy Oki, Glen E Friedman, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins

Year: 2000

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


EIFF 2001

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