Posted by Jean Jessup on Sunday, September 25, 2011
Review on the Run: The story of Snow On Tha Bluff is that it's a video diary of Curtis Snow's every day life in the "Hood" in the Atlanta area, filmed with a stolen camera by Curtis Snow's buddy, Pancho Perez. Snow engages in minor drug wars, stealing, shooting, visiting relatives, dealing and doing drugs, etc.. Damon Russell, the director, molded Snow's video footage into a coherent film complete with soundtrack. If what's on the screen is really the actual video dairy, then it's a chilling account of what happens daily in "The Hood." If it was actually staged, it is a fantastic feat of filmmaking, showing art accurately imitating life. At times the cinematography was really great for a video diary. If it is a combination of the two (which is what I think), the boundaries between staged filmmaking and a realistic video diary are seamlessly brought together.
The sound system in the theater, where I attended the screening of the film, frustrated my attempts at clearly hearing the dialogue. (When I re-viewed the trailer on my computer, the sound was much clearer and I could better understand what was happening.) The fact that I am a suburban-type white woman also frustrated my ability to understand the quick urban dialect. So I relied on the visuals to tell me the story and I found myself focusing mainly on whether or not this was real or staged. I also wondered why so many people who were engaging in illegal activities would agree to being filmed. I think I would have had a more profound experience if I had understood the detail of what was going on.
But having said all that, I don't doubt for a minute that everything that was depicted in this film could have happened. In the film, Snow basically says that in the hood you have to protect yourself all the time and get someone before they get you. There's no trusting anyone. I experienced this when I foolishly lived on the South Side of Chicago for a short time in the 70's. Snow's comment reminded me of what it was like for Danny Trejo as he describes this very mindset when he was in prison, in his 2005 autobiographical documentary, Champion. It really struck me during the film how the Hood is very much like a prison, but one you are free to come and go from with great effort.
You can see this kind of kill-or-be-killed mindset in large corporations. It's not about humanity, it's all about power and survival. I think this is characteristic of many in our government as well. Otherwise, we would have a government that stood up for human rights and supported a humane lifestyle for it's constituents. This law-of-the-jungle lifestyle does it's best to destroy community, because any sense of community will destroy it. I think this is an important film. I know this may sound tasteless, but I really would like some subtitles.
Official Movie Website: http://snowonthabluff.com/
Tags: snow on the bluff film review curtis snow atlanta hood