Directors: Philippe Bernard § Nicolas Mu
Trailer Editor DF: Mariano Melega
Creative Producer: Rebecca Martin
Hip-hop: whatever the language, whatever the country, these two words conjure up negative images. Many people see hip-hop only as a musical genre and consider it indelibly linked to violence, drugs and delinquency. Yet the overriding aim of hip-hop as a culture is to unite, educate and spread peace. It does this through four distinct forms of expression: words (rap), music, dance and graffiti. Our documentary examines the rise of hip-hop in a country whose recurrent economic and social crises have left it, too, on the margins. The result is a unique look behind the clichés of Argentina, known abroad largely for football, tango and Evita. We see Buenos Aires, and hip-hop, with new eyes.
Argentina’s turbulent contemporary history, including periods of openness and others of isolation from the outside world, have forced hip-hop musicians and artists to merge influences from abroad with elements of their own national culture. Hip-hop still occupies a niche in Argentina, but it is extremely dynamic and has forged its own identity, rather than simply copying its American or French cousins.
Graffiti artists from France, Brazil or the United States who were unable to give free rein to their artistic expression because of police repression at home, found incredible freedom and acres of white walls in Argentina. They taught their techniques to Argentine graffiti artists who imbued them with their own particular hallmarks: Jaz is one of the precursors of the “grafiteado” style, a mix between graffiti and the home-grown “fileteado” whose flourishes and curlicues are an Argentine tradition, still adorning city buses and signs today. The rapper Mustafa Yoda drew his influence from “payadores” or gaucho minstrels famous for their improvisation, for his freestyle battles. Argentina’s convulsed political, social and economic history continues to inspire the combative lyrics of groups such as Bas Crew or Actitud María Marta. El Guapo appears as the symbol of this successful quest for identity : he unites the past and the future, tango, folk, rock and hip-hop. With his inimitable style, this great collector of tango records plunges us into the Argentina of Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzola.
This documentary peels back the skin of Argentina. The creativity, dedication and determination of these hip-hop artists are a reflection of a country which continues to advance, despite its political, social and economic difficulties.