Style Wars

1984 documentary “Style Wars” on graffiti art, rap songs and break dance. But mostly the theme is about graffiti art.

The film focuses on the 1970s counter culture of graffiti art in New York on the trains and building walls. The focus of the documentary is mostly on train walls. The film does’nt delve into the founding of the graffiti art but mostly on the constant fight between the graffiti artists on the one hand and the establishment on the other.

The establishment in the form of the metro authority who spend considerable sums of monies in cleaning up the trains and who have their million plus passengers who have their own freedom of expression. If graffiti is seen as a freedom of expression then the then Mayor Ed Koch went considerable distance to prevent it including installing barbed wire fences, deploying dogs etc . The graffiti writers on the other hand say that there is no other place for them to display their art.

There emerged from the graffiti artists some big names such as Mr. Seen whose graffiti is depicted here above and some other big names who had a huge fan following. Nowadays the courts are debating whether graffiti artists own the IPR on such graffiti art. Few cases have already been decided by court.

The documentary is a little bit grainy, but it has some excellent live videos and images to go by with the narration being kept to the bare minimum. This documentary won at the Sundance.

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