“Big Fun In The Big Town” from director Bram Van Splunteren | Five Day Weekend
Hip Hop has come full circle in modern times, shedding light on the pioneers who started the movement and the foundations the culture was based on. Turntablists, producers, MC’s, graffiti writers and breakers; the foundations have constantly shaped modern culture and this years release of Big Fun In The Big Town stands as one of the most definitive statements of this beginning in New York circa 1980′s. The film was released over 20 years ago and Five Day Weekend has sought out this release for a much needed reissue. This special documentary on the beginnings of Hip Hop music includes juggernauts in the hip hop game such as The Last Poets, Russell Simmons, Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shante, Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay, Doug E. Fresh & the Get Fresh Crew and many other influential artists of the time. If you didn’t hear about this release earlier in May, this is definitely grabbing a copy. Shot in beautiful quality, every scene speaks volumes into the atmosphere that shaped the beginning stages of hip hop. As hip hop has taken on many forms since these stages, it’s very important to have the perspective of this age in full view when analyzing the newer forms. In terms of how good this documentary is, one statement sums up this release very well: Big Fun In The Big Town is stunning on every level and captures the heart of what hip hop stands for in its most purest form.
From Five Day Weekend | http://fivedayweekend.co.uk/
New York, 1986: a city of big dreams and equally big problems. Like New York itself, hip-hop music encompassed both of these human conditions. But hip-hop and its cultural birthplace shared other important characteristics, too: the desire to always be original, a hustle-to-survive ambition, and — if the stars aligned — the ability to come out on top, no matter what the odds.
Dutch filmmaker, journalist and rap fanatic Bram Van Splunteren stepped into the city for one intense week in 1986. He was armed with five things: a camera crew, a map, a deep respect for the hip-hop artform, a list of phone numbers, and a burning desire to get to the bottom of what this still-growing subculture was all about. By the time he left, he had the answers he needed, along with a treasure trove of golden video footage. Tragically, these images never returned from Europe, languishing in obscurity from hip-hop’s homeland for more than a quarter-century. Until now.
Big Fun in the Big Town is about hip-hop when artistry in the game was still at its center. When skills, not hype, got you your first record deal. When Run-DMC took the reins from Doug E Fresh and Grandmaster Flash, paving the way for hundreds of other hitmakers to follow. When a chart-topping LL Cool J still lived with his Grandmother. When the Latin Quarter was the club to be at on any weekend night. And when artists from all backgrounds could taste their own pop chart dreams, just beyond their reach but still seemingly attainable.
This essential, fast-paced documentary shows hip-hop from just about every angle, and approaches its subjects with a journalistic sobriety and respect rarely given to this oft-misunderstood artform and culture, even to this day. It presents worldwide superstars and aspiring rappers, dancers and beatboxers on an even playing field, reminding us that rap was once a wide-open game for anyone with talent to grab at the brass ring of fame.
Commercially available for the first time ever after more than 25 years, Big Fun in the Big Town is nothing short of a revelation.
Dutch director Bram Van Splunteren has been a noted music, arts and human-interest documentarian for more than two decades, known for feature films on The Red Hot Chili Peppers (“A Dutch Connection”) and Loudon Wainwright (“One Man Guy”), among many others. For more information, visit: www.bramvansplunteren.nl.