“It feels like I have been given the key to the kingdom and now have to look after the castle,” says Senegalese Ben’J, who is competing in the Breakdance World Championship in Soweto. It is the comparison he draws with the burden that rests on his shoulders now that he is participating in this battle of the titans for his country and thus represents practically all B-boys (breakdancers) in Senegal. Ben’J is one of the sixteen Breakdancers in the movie ‘Turn It Loose’; a film that starts out as a true thriller, contains artful rustic interludes, but ultimately remains a documentary in theory.
Director Alastair Siddons follows six break dancers from different countries and continents on their way to the world championship in the abandoned nuclear power plant in Soweto. Siddons allows the face of the stage animal in the B-boys to flow effortlessly into that of their personal lives, thereby charting the breakdance that arose in the slums of New York in the early 1970s as a way of life and higher goal of the often underprivileged. main characters. Rarely does a director pay so much attention to the cinematic side of a documentary, so that the end result is also a feast for the eyes. Especially artful are the slow effects in the transition to other scenes that seem almost Matrix-like.
So ‘Turn It Loose’ tends to be a feature film that sets it apart. The fact that Siddons portrays a respectable art form is absolutely clear. Many viewers will marvel at the acrobatic dance form called breakdance. But even more fascinating is perhaps the power that can arise in (young) people to achieve something when the key to the material world is not for them. The drive to take himself, the family or even the homeland to a higher level through that one perfect dance is moving and Siddons conveys that excellently through the continuous focus on the personal lives of the dancers. The filmmaker thus highlights a special form of wealth; making dreams come true.
The documentary ‘Turn It Loose’ bypasses dry interviews in the successful attempt to tell the story of the main characters. Instead, the power of image is fully utilized and the viewer experiences the story from an appropriate distance. ‘Turn It Loose’ is not taught in the ears, but burned on the retina, which increases its impact.