Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:24 am 
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Location: California/NYC
Just a preview of a lively, fresh little doc about big flocks of illegal dirt bikers in the Baltimore ghetto who come out on Sundays and run circles around the cops. The POV comes through 10-11-12-13-year old Pug.
“They call them 12 O’Clock Boys ’cause they ride the bikes straight back,” he says in a voiceover. “If you get to 12 o’clock, you the shit. You know you in the pack. That’s when you can really shine.”
--Pug in 12 O'clock Boys.

PREVIEW: 12 O'CLOCK BOYS (Lotfy Nathan)


Wheel dreams

Lotfy Nathan, born in England of Egyptian Jews, was an student at Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) when he learned about the Sunday groupings -- don't say gang -- of black men and youths lawlessly riding dirt bikes en masse on city streets, running circles around police cars. One of their titles was "12 O'Clock Boys," for their signature style of riding the bikes straight-up, one wheel on the ground, the front wheel perpendicular above it, pointing toward 12 o'clock, dare-devil style.

Nathan, being young, fearless, and full of enthusiasm, easily introduced himself into Baltimore ghetto culture. The bike riders he found congregated from all parts of the inner city in Druid Hill Park on Sundays liked to be filmed. They made their own self-filming, on videotapes and posted on YouTube, the key to their legend, and they welcomed his camera. He made friends and gained contact with a faction called the WOWBOYZ, who helped him to follow the dirt bikers in action and film them.

But the young neophyte documentarian needed an organizing principle. He found it in a pint-sized 11, 12- 13-year-old (the filming went on for three years) called Pug, a boy with long rattail hair, bright clothes, a smiling, sunny face. Pug had an inexhaustible enthusiasm for 12 O'Clock Boys and his desire to be admitted to their official ranks never flags, even when, later on, his bike is stolen. They are his idols and his heroes and his male role models. And furthermore, despite his pint size, he rides well. His mama, Coco, a former exotic dancer working to become a nurse practitioner, struggles to keep Pug out of trouble, off the streets, and in school.

COCO AND PUG, Jefferson Jackson Steel/City Paper

12 O'Clock Boys TRAILER.

Released in the US by Oscillioscope, it opens January 31, 2014 in NY, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, and 10 other markets and comes out on VOD and digital. Full review here then.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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