Written by Nelson George
Directed by Nelson George and Diane Paragas
Length: 1hr 15min
Available on Netflix and Hulu Plus
Here’s a list of names for you: Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Wynton Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Carl Rux, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Talib Kweli. You’ve probably heard at least a few of these names, and if you’re into urban arts you’ve probably heard them all. The list contains singers, writers, filmmakers, poets, rappers, and musicians. These people have one thing in common–they come from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn. That neighborhood is Fort Greene, a locale which has given the world these artists and many, many more. Brooklyn Boheme is an intimate look at this influential New York neighborhood.
Yesterday I posted a review for the Spike Lee joint, Do the Right Thing. When I first saw that film I wondered, “Where did this kind of art come from?” Who, what, when, where, and most importantly why? Brooklyn Boheme answers these questions. The documentary is told in ten diverse chapters, each telling a particularly rich and complete story from Fort Greene.
This is not a story about artists, but about art. Brooklyn in the 1980s was a movement, maybe even a revolution, of the arts. Director Nelson George captures the feeling of this period with interviews, scenic pans, and sharp commentary. The film is refreshing and encouraging to anybody who still believes in the power of the arts, or who just wants to make a difference in their community.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars