‘Passinho Dance-Off’ – Directed by Emilio Domingas – London Screening 27.5.14

Whether or not you’ve clocked the youtube videos of the dance phenomenon known as passinho or are yet to be initiated, here’s a documentary definitely worth checking when it rolls in to town.

I know we’ve said this a million times, but the mark of a really good documentary is when you’re incredibly invested from start to finish without any prior knowledge or interest in the subject. Directed by Emilio Domingos, Passinho Dance-Off ticks all the boxes. He’s found a brilliant subject in passinho, the dance that’s globalising (once more) the favelas of Rio, and as a result pushing the gangs that used to run the areas parties away, encompassing a dancer’s culture instead.

It’s a unique journey considering that the dance itself was started by the foot soldiers of Comando Vermelho, an infamous Brazilian crime organisation known for drug and firearms trafficking. However, recent articles have even credited passinho as being responsible for bringing peace to the favelas.

Described as “a new way to dance baile funk”, the rules and styles of passinho seem much looser than how we might judge footwork or breakdancing, though in fact comes off as a combination of those two with samba thrown in. Done in 45 second battles, the stars of this street dance first found themselves going viral and now are even considered mainstream in their own home country.

As far as the athleticism and rhythm of the dancers go, it’s hard not to appreciate it, but the real story lies elsewhere, in the hype around the parties, the dancers themselves and the dedication to reach a better life through dancing, where previously this desire was filled with either drugs or football.

Not to give too much away, but the documentary is only slightly more hopeful and inspiring as it is tragic. They may work hard to reach a life outside of the favelas, and forget the dangers of where they are during the dance battles, but you don’t lose sight that this is still one of the most dangerous locations in the world.

For the London based crew you can head down to the UK premier at the Soho Curzon on Tuesday, to check out the feature-length documentary followed by a Q&A with Domingos. It starts at 6:45, and you can grab tickets here: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/events/p05k3/curzon-docdays/

Trailer below, with the trailer underneath that.

via Curzon
Passinho is a street dance phenomenon thats swept across Rio de Janeiro, leaving more chaos in its wake than the International Olympic Committee. It’s made superstars of the scene’s mercurial talent, and highlighted the the creativity and passion endemic to the city’s favelas and suburbs. Directed by Emílio Domingos, Passinho Dance-Off follows the deftest performers during a city-wide battle to crown the king of passinho. But it takes an unexpected turn when one goes missing. Winner of the New Directions Award at the Festival of Rio.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

On a separate note, I was pretty stoked to see this press release coming from an old Shook! Mag mailing list, man I miss that magazine and the people involved. When I saw that email come up it was like Tron: Legacy, when he gets a page from the old arcade that’s been abandoned for over a decade. If you know those cats are involved, it’s going to be good.