(Jon Reiss, 2007)
No offense, New York and Philly, but this film about the development of graffiti (aka tagging or bombing) improves greatly when it leaves American shores. The U.S. scene feels familiar where internationally, in places like Sao Paolo or Cape Town, we are offered a glimpse at the socioeconomic and political impact of street artists. Or we are shown the profound artistic scope of European and Asian graffiti.
Most of the bombers are referred to by their tag name, which further emphasizes that while it remains a frowned-upon or illegal activity, tagging offers these down-and-out “nobodies” an identity as well as a passion.
Enlightening and ambitious enough, but Jon Reiss’ film is most likely for a niche audience already familiar with urban culture.